Hankering for some Japanese food but on a tight budget?
There’s a newly opened resto at SM East Ortigas serving various types of tempura bowls and more for as low as Php99.
Tempura is characterized by seafood or sliced vegetables coated with batter and deep-fried. Surprisingly, this dish apparently originated in Portugal (when the Portuguese introduced batter frying to Japan.
This cozy resto has a light and fun atmosphere with yellow decor, pine furniture and anime characters holding the tempura bowls depicted on the walls. Some of the food offerings are whimsically named as well. Among those my family and I have sampled include:
- HiRO Tempura Bowl (Php99) – 1 prawn, 1 kani and vegetable tempura
- Empress Bowl (Php129) – 1 prawn, 1 squid, 1 kani abd vegetable tempura
- Sansa Seafood and Vegetable Bowl (Php179) – 2 prawns, 1 squid, 1 kani and vegetable tempura
- Chicken Teriyaki Don (Php149)
Each tempura bowl comes with rice and a cup of miso soup. I also opted to Go Ninja, which gives me cabbage salad and a HiRo blend iced tea for an additional Php50.I found their prawn tempura a bit small (I’m tempted to call it shrimp tempura instead because of its size) but flavor is close to the offerings of pricier restos. (Note: Hubby disagrees with me, saying he can cook a better tempura). The kani seems a bit gummy, though, while the tempura sauce is thicker and less ginger-y than what I’m used to but still ok. The chicken teriyaki is tender and flavorful; my son wolfed it down as soon as it was served.HiRo Tempura Rice Bowls is still in its soft opening stage so there were some misses that can improve given time:
- The first time I ate here, I wasn’t given an order number so the wait staff didn’t know where to serve my order.
- They don’t have an automated POS yet so expect some lag as the cashier manually writes down your order and receipt (but you should always ask for a receipt, ok?)
Personally, I appreciate how this resto makes tempura and other Japanese dishes more affordable and accessible to more customers. It’s also a good way to introduce kids to Japanese cuisine without breaking the bank.I will return, especially when I want a quick and affordable tempura meal.