I don’t think we have any friends who don’t like to eat. What would we do with them? Our social life revolves around meals and drinks, and if you don’t appreciate either, I’m not sure conversation would be enough 🙂 Haha!
Of course we let our dear friends drag us to their favorite Japanese restaurant. Nihonbashi Tei in Pasay Road is famous for its relatively inexpensive Japanese fare, so accessible that our friends go through week-long binges at this place.
When dining in New York, we usually gauge the quality of Asian restaurants by their staff. If the sushi chef is Chinese or Hispanic, then there is a problem. I’ve had a Japanese friend consider it a travesty that a ramen place was staffed with Koreans. Now I don’t know if there are enough Japanese in Manila to staff a big restaurant, but the head server here is Japanese, the sushi chefs are Filipino, and the menu has no English translation. That should tell you enough about their usual clientele.
I actually appreciate establishments that don’t bend over backwards to be accessible to everyone on their menu. Service-wise, yes, make me happy. But a limited menu that doesn’t go overboard in explanation (especially of typical Japanese fare) creates an understanding that this isn’t your typical Americanized Japanese place. Either way, you can always ask the staff who are versed in English, Tagalog, and Nihongo.
The pickled octopus and squid were big favorites that night. The slight tang of the pickling liquid brought out the sweetness of the seafood without making it tough. These were very tasty (and pretty) creations.
This was such a hit when we visited that we ordered it again when we came back a second time. The cut was meaty, tasty and fresh. Our friend enjoyed sucking on the facial bones like a champ!
I also enjoyed the cold soba noodles that are served on a bed of ice to battle the Manila heat. My favorite was the soba with grated daikon, which added a spicy bite to the noodles and the dipping sauce.