How authentic is ‘authentic’ Japanese cuisine?By Sandy Daza |Philippine Daily Inquirer
It has become more and more difficult to find foreign cuisine that will satisfy our palate. Standards have grown by leaps and bounds that the once impressive restaurants are no longer as good as they used to be.
Many times, I crave the comfort food I grew up with and realize my palate has moved on and left behind once-delicious dishes. I speak of foreign cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese.
I used to love 3M pizza which was baked in a toaster oven. But that’s no longer the case today. Carusso, Gino’s, even Yellow Cab, are the culprits to my changing taste.
The delicious sweet and sour pork and siomai of a local Chinese restaurant are no longer that good. Tim Ho Wan, Hai Shin Lou and Shang Palace have set the bar on how these traditional Chinese dishes are supposed to taste.
Tuna sashimi was such an exotic dish to me until I sampled other Japanese dishes. Even the fast-food versions of these dishes are a lot better than the ones I used to like.
Today, if one doesn’t have a foreign chef manning the kitchen, there’s an immediate bias that the cuisine is not authentic. There are a few exceptions, of course.
Every time I meet with my cousins, there are never-ending conversations about new restaurants, desserts and dishes. Just last Sunday, I learned from my cousin Cai Baltazar about a fantastic chocolate cake and a box of sandwiches by Eats Amore (tel. nos. 8286957 and 0917-8991380). Its burger sliders, chicken and cheese pimiento sandwiches are also delicious.
Meanwhile, Penny Daza Tuviera attested to this “authentic” Japanese restaurant in the Pearl Drive area of Pasig City. My first question was, “May Japanese chef ba?” When she said yes, I decided to go there myself.
Marufuku Japanese Restaurant has been around for sometime. I first tried it alone right after a Saturday morning badminton game.
The food was good but not impressive, I thought. I was wrong. I obviously ordered the wrong things. Because when I went back, I noticed the signs I look for in a good restaurant.
I immediately thought of bringing my family there; I knew I would crave its dishes and I was eager to come back to try the other items.
I also saw a Japanese chef manning the open kitchen. The dining area had a neat setup, much like a typical Japanese restaurant. From there, I could see the handful of chefs in action. On one side, there was a sushi preparation area, too.
I like to order many typical dishes which act as my determining factor of the place’s authenticity. To me, then, Marufuku makes the best prawn tempura in the metropolis—crispy, firm and huge.
I also love the sushi items, especially Spicy Tuna Maki and Spicy Salmon Maki. There is a crunch to each bite. Dipped in a bit of soy with the creaminess of a lot of wasabi, this is a sample of heaven in a bite.
I look forward to trying the Marufuku roll, which looks interesting. Kaki Motoyaki are oysters which Penny raves about. Baked on a ramen spoon, the oysters’ drippings are inviting, with a promise of warm freshness.
Sashimis are also very fresh and delicious.
The variety of Kamameshi rice are also worth trying. I love how they make the typical dishes like chicken teriyaki. Mildly sweet, there is a crunch to the skin of this popular dish.
The Chahan of Japanese fried rice I also enjoyed. One could smell the mildly burned aroma. I added a bit of soy sauce and the dish woke up with flavor.
With the rice, I ordered a Tori Karaage. This is a simple deep-fried Japanese boneless chicken but brought to a whole new level. The meat is crunchy outside and very moist inside. The skin is attached on the side.
I also sampled a noodle dish I had never seen in any Japanese restaurant. It was a seafood dish over black ramen. It had grilled shrimp and fish and very tender squid. It was mild tasting and very delicious.
Marufuku has become my family’s favorite restaurant. I love this place.
Marufuku Japanese Restaurant is at Crescent Bldg., 29 San Miguel Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Call tel. 5703989.
Wine of the week
Wine of the week is La Mascota, Malbec 2011, at Titania Rockwell. Great with steaks and meats.
I also like the adobong mani in a bottle made by Zennies. Super sarap! The peanuts are firm with an intense flavor of adobo and lots of crispy garlic. Call tel. nos. (049) 5361368 and 0919-5733538.
Visit sandydaza.blogspot.com and follow on Twitter @sandydaza.