Tempura Bowls at Hiro, SM East Ortigas

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.HiRo Tempura Bowls Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Japanese Barbecue at Sandaya Yakiniku

I attended the 12th leg of Cruising Magazine’s Taste #TravelForFood road show here. I’ve only ever been at Fisher Mall once before and I’m glad to discover another great place to eat here since it’s so near my workplace.

The place is well lit and well laid out. The party which consisted of about 40 people were able to sit comfortably in tables of six. Each table has a grill at the center with which to grill the yakiniku.


Our sumptuous repast consisted of:

– Appetizers: Kani Salad and Spicy Tuna Maki (not too crazy about the maki, though; I prefer California maki). There was also an assortment of side dishes consisting of kimchi, achara and sauteed beans.


  

Mains: Japanese Style Beef Stew (quite a novelty for me – the broth was creamy and flavorful with tender bits of beef and ox tripe) and Special Assorted Barbecue Set (love the juicy and well-seasoned meats, however, I prefer to eat them sans the special sauce)


  


– Side: Japanese rice (not sticky enough for me)

The wait staff are approachable and accommodating although they seemed overwhelmed by the size of the group (or our appetites!) as some of the food took a while getting to us.

I look forward to sampling this resto’s other offerings in the future.

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