Over the years, we’ve seen the tide of ramen, okonomiyaki, aburi sushi, and even matcha restaurants flood the local foodie scene. It seemed like we’ve seen all there is to see about Japanese food trends. But there’s one trend that’s been making its presence felt so quietly that we can’t blame you for not noticing: Japanese fusion restaurants.
In this rundown, we list five Japanese fusion restaurants you’ll find here in Metro Manila. There’s one that pairs Japanese flavors and ingredients with street food from Los Angeles. Another restaurant on our list became famous for its Japanese-Peruvian menu. We even have one that ties Japanese cuisine with Scandinavian food!
Curious about the rest? Read on and find out!
For those who have been to Hong Kong, you might have already encountered CHINO, a Japanese-Mexican restaurant founded by Chef Erik Idos. With the opening of its first Manila branch in BGC, we no longer need a plane ticket to get a taste of what this fusion is like.
The food at CHINO are mainly Mexican recipes but your tastebuds will definitely recognize the Japanese flavors and ingredients infused in them. If you’re not sure where to begin, try the tostadas and tacos! Some of your options include the White Fish Tostada with Pickled Wasabi Kewpie and Furikake, Grilled Shrimp Taco with Salsa Macha with Guacamole, and Tuna Poke Tostada with Yuzu Miso and Avocado.
CHINO can be found on the G/F of One Bonifacio High Street, 28th St. corner 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
2. Eat 9707
Ever heard of American street food prepared the Japanese way? If not, now’s a good time to head to Eat 9707!
Serving street food from Los Angeles using Japanese ingredients and techniques, Eat 9707 is where you can find dishes such as the Wagyu Katsu Burger (served with a sesame dressing and wasabi mayo), Torched Salmon Mac & Cheese, and Meat Sauce Nachos.
Don’t be surprised if you see more than one Spam dish on the menu because it’s a favorite in Eat 9707! Order the Spam Fries and Spam Tonkatsu Curry Omurice if you’re a Spam fan!
Eat 9707 can be found on the 6/F of 9707 Kamagong St., San Antonio, Makati.
3. Le Petit Souffle
We’re heading to Europe for the second restaurant in this rundown! Le Petit Souffle offers French-Japanese food that can easily top your comfort food list. Ask a server for a recommendation and chances are you’ll get the Squid Ink Rice. Made up of Japanese rice, squid ink, scrambled eggs, and a generous serving of shrimp, squid, and mushrooms, this dish is a hit among looloo reviewers!
In her looloo review, Cindy S. calls it her “default order” whenever she dines at Le Petit Souffle. “I swear I’ll never get umay with this! The squid ink rice is on point—rich, briny and dramatic,” she says. “I can finish one order on my own, tried and tested.”
Le Petit Souffle can be found at these locations.
While the number of South American restaurants here in Manila are growing, not many people are familiar with the different cuisines from this part of the world. Willing to give it a try? Nikkei is just what you need!
Nikkei’s Japanese-Peruvian menu is the perfect place to start if you want to try a new cuisine while still enjoying tried-and-tested flavors you know very well. While you will find familiar Japanese dishes like nigiri sushi, sashimi, and rolls on the menu, you will also encounter Peruvian favorites like causa (mashed potato terrine usually stuffed with fish and avocado), tiradito (Peruvian version of the sashimi), and ceviche.
Nikkei can be found at these locations.
Let’s start with a very short geography lesson for this one. Scandinavia is a northern European region and usually refers to the following countries: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. They all seem so far away and most foodies probably know next to nothing about their food. But that’s no longer going to be a problem because now we have YOI!
A Sake Bar that opened in Poblacion, Makati just this year, YOI is the result of the perfect marriage of Scandinavian and Japanese cuisines. Dining at YOI will probably be your initiation into Scandinavian cuisine so take the chance to try something new! Browse the menu and you’ll come across dishes like the Kropkakka, which are pretty much mussel-stuffed potato balls. For dessert, go for the Kladkakaa, which is made up of stout-flavored ice cream and fudge cocoa cake.
But hey, don’t forget that YOI is a sake bar! So the next time you and your friends are in the mood for drinks, try the Sake Tasting Menu and enjoy six different flavors of sake!
YOI can be found at 5579 Alfonso St. corner Fermina St., Poblacion, Makati.