A Taste of Japan at Minori-Tei

The timing was perfect. Just when one-half of team foodmarks was about to embark on her new journey – that is starting her first job after passing the board exams, we also received our first ever invitation to a bloggers’ lunch to try a new restaurant! Oh my, talk about pure excitement and butterflies in our stomachs. We were so shocked and excited about it that we even had to read the invitation a couple of times so it would sink in. Not only were we thrilled about getting our first invitation, we were overjoyed with the fact it was a Japanese restaurant we had to try!

This would be a lengthy blog entry, and we hope you would read down to the last line. We really want to share with you our wonderful dining experience, and perhaps you would want to try the restaurant with your family and friends!

Specially Made for the Bloggers: Fish roe, Scallop and Shrimp all the way from Hokkaido, Japan

The name of the restaurant is Minori-Tei, which means golden harvest. Situated in First Philippine Industrial Park (Sto. Tomas, Batangas), it primarily caters to Japanese cuisine lovers nearby, Japanese businessmen, and Filipino laborers in the area. The restaurant opened in September this year, and since then it has slowly gained popularity in serving authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices.

The bloggers’ lunch was on a Friday, and we brought along with us our closest college friends namely, Nina, Rae and Camille, and the cousin of Natz, Kuya Boy. We didn’t have a difficult time looking for Minori-Tei restaurant since one of our friends, Camille, is from Batangas, and she knows where FPIP is. Plus, there are several small tarpaulins of Minori-Tei near FPIP so we knew we were not getting lost. We travelled from Las Pinas, and it took us around an hour to get to the place.

We arrived just in time for lunch, as the other bloggers also just arrived. We were greeted by the very warm and enthusiastic owner of Minori-Tei, Mr. William How. He gave us the opportunity to check the whole restaurant, even to enter the kitchen to witness how they prepare the yummy Japanese food they serve.

Facilities

Minori-Tei offers a very light ambiance – the restaurant has a high ceiling and simple yet elegant interiors, creating a very sophisticated atmosphere. The place is well lighted. And as one of the attendees said, unlike other Japanese restaurants wherein upon entrance, there’s this distinctive smell (not the good one, we guess), Minori-Tei has a good exhaust system so customers don’t have to expect any unpleasant smell as they enter. To add to this, the whole area can be a smoking area, according to the servers.

We truly adore the figurines nicely placed on glass shelves serving as dividers. As also stated in the bloggers’ kit, the ornaments and novelty items in the shop represent the different regions in Japan, hence creating a ‘little Japan’. Too cute, aren’t they?

Are they all cute? Hmmm….

There’s also a sushi bar, where the customers can enjoy watching the chefs preparing delectable sushi using the freshest ingredients.

As mentioned, we were given the chance to enter the kitchen where all the action takes place. The kitchen looks like a typical modern kitchen of a restaurant – clean, with various cooking equipment, with fresh ingredients and packed with passionate chefs. We couldn’t help but feast our eyes on the food they are preparing! Our stomachs can hardly wait!

Food

We were given a blogger’s kit containing the menu for lunch and also a short background of the restaurant. Chef Toshiya Honda, the man behind all the great-tasting food we ate and enjoyed, has made a name of his own as a brilliant chef. He has had several experiences in the culinary industry, such as being an executive Japanese chef in Century Park Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, and also in Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His passion and expertise in Japanese cuisine are definitely showcased in his wonderful food creations served in Minori-Tei. To add to that, he also is in charge of going to the market early in the morning just to get hold of the freshest ingredients to be served to the customers. Talk about passion!

Imagine our excitement when we saw the list of dishes we would be trying! First to be served to us were, of course, the appetizers.

These Japanese beans, called Edamame, became an instant hit at our table! Our friend, Camille, happens to love eating these. The skins of these beans are not meant to be eaten. What you eat are the beans inside, and what you do is you will squeeze the beans until either ends of the skins open. They taste nice! They have a nutty flavor, as if you’re eating soft peanuts. They have got us into thinking, perhaps they would be a healthier snack alternative to potato chips?

We forgot to take a photo before trying it. The presentation was more pretty than that.

Of course, a staple in every Japanese restaurant would be kani salad. It was okay. The ingredients used were also fresh. However, we think there was too much mayonnaise in it. It almost overpowered the other flavors. What we love about this salad is the generous serving of fresh roe. Every bite, you can feel the roe popping!

Next in line was the tofu salad. The sauce was so flavorful and the tofu had the right texture and consistency. We loved the shavings on top, similar to what is usually placed on top of takoyaki balls. We loved how it complemented the tofu and the sauce.

To pair up with our food, Sakewas also served.

These cute tidbits of chicken are called chicken popcorn. They taste good, as if you’re eating tidbits of chicken karaage. They are quite addicting, so beware! Haha!

What would a Japanese restaurant be without sushi and sashimi? And when the different kinds of sushi rolls were served to us, we had a hard time choosing which to try first. They all looked beautiful.

The tempura roll, according to our friends, was excellent. It tasted so delicious that we didn’t even have the chance to try it! Haha! We had to rely on our friends’ descriptions of how it tasted. And we couldn’t argue anymore since the time it took for the dish to be finished proved their testimonies. Perhaps, next time we dine at Minori-Tei, this dish would be our priority order.

Another sushi dish served to us is the California roll. Just like the kani salad, what we loved are the fresh roe (or fish eggs). Other than those, this dish did not really stand out as it tasted pretty much similar to California rolls in other authentic Japanese restaurants.

Meanwhile, the spicy tuna roll tasted so good! The flavor of the star of the dish which is the tuna, blended so well with the other ingredients. The level of spiciness was just right, and it was not overpowering.

Enough with the sushi, next to be served are mix sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish). And again, this dish did not disappoint. There were slices of raw tuna, salmon, squid, and sea urchin. Each slice was so fresh; it almost melted in the mouth.

We’re not really sure what the dish’s name is, but what we are sure of is that this dish was absolutely far from disappointment. Chef Honda was proud to share that the ingredients were really fresh – they were from Hokkaido, Japan and arrived only that morning. It looked, smelled, and tasted so fresh that it seemed as if they were just happily gliding under the sea minutes before they were served to us. As our teeth sunk into the big, pink shrimps, we were simply in awe of the texture and the taste. The shrimps were so tender and creamy. Every bite instantly became a witness to how perfectly fresh they are.

Chef Honda (Right) presenting the special dish with, Operations Manager, Mr. How (Left).

And now we finally proceed to the main entrees! We were already full after enjoying the sushi, sashimi, and other appetizers, but we couldn’t say no to the next dishes as they all looked so appetizing!

When eating at Japanese restaurants, we make it a point to try the teriyaki chicken if there is on the menu. So we were so thrilled when we knew that teriyaki chicken would be served. And when we took a bite of the chicken, we were even happier. The dish was so flavorful. The chicken parts were of the right size, and were perfectly tender. The right blend of sweetness of the teriyaki sauce really stood out and made us crave for more.

Another dish served to us is the tori karaage ( Japanese fried chicken). The chicken parts were also tender, although we loved the teriyaki chicken more since the flavors were more distinct.

Sukiyakiwas served next. It tasted sweet yet delicious. The soup had the right amount of flavor, perfect to accompany the mushrooms, noodles, vegetables, beef, and all other ingredients in the soup.

There’s always room for dessert, right? Served to us were mixed fruits and red bean ice cream. The fruits were a perfect way to cleanse the palate from all the flavors of the previous dishes. And the red bean ice cream was just divine. We loved it so much! It was like eating what’s inside a buchi (sesame balls) but instead the red bean was mixed with the ice cream. DELICIOSO!

We were saddened that we didn’t get the chance to try the other main entrees such as the yakitori mix, ebi tempura, and udon noodles. We didn’t know that only 1 serving is placed on each table, and the said dishes were placed on the side of the table farther to our group. We only realized this when the dishes were all finished. Anyway, there’s always a next time, right?

Price

Some have this misconception that Japanese food are expensive. Minori-Tei is an exception! Looking at the prices on the menu, we think the dishes are priced reasonably and just right! Considering the quality of the food that they serve, the prices are so affordable. Families and friends will surely enjoy dining here since it wouldn’t hurt their wallets that much compared to other restaurants.

From all the pictures and all the things we shared, we’re more than certain that you guys are in envy of our dining experience. Haha! Kidding aside, we definitely enjoyed our dining experience here at Minori-Tei. We truly had a taste of Japan because of the very relaxing ambiance, excellent food, and friendly people. We would surely go back to try the other dishes which we missed!

With the owners: Mr. Wiliam B. How and Mrs. Milagros T. Ong-How

Minori-Tei Japanese Restaurant
Open from 11AM to 3PM, and 5PM to 10PM daily
Contact numbers: (043) 4055791, (043) 4055001, 09175236318

Have you tried Minori-Tei? Are you craving for Japanese food after seeing our post? Share us what you think!

-foodmarks | marking culinary journeys

 

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Seleco Big Bite: Not Your Ordinary Snack

When we got another Try This! suggestion and found out that the owner of WORKS5 Commodities himself, Mr. Adrian, wanted us to try the product, we couldn’t be more excited! Plus, we love Japanese food so when we learned that the product would be a seaweed snack, we immediately replied and told the owner we’d love to try it!

The product was shipped to us by the very kind seller for free! He wanted us to have a sample of this snack which is a product of Bangkok, Thailand. Yes, Bangkok! We first thought that the product is from Japan since it is a seaweed snack. The shipment arrived 2 days after we coordinated with the owner. Though we got the product for free, we did our best in reviewing the product without any bias.

Here it is, Seleco Seaweed Snack!


Packaging

We like the packaging of the product – it is appealing and clean-looking with not too much text. The packaging is also quite cool since it has a resealable zip lock in order to preserve its freshness and crispness. However, like most of snacks with a similar packaging, it can be somewhat bulky especially if you plan to bring it with you anywhere. Probably the best solution to this would be a variety of packaging sizes from small packets to larger ones.

At the back of the packaging, it says there that if the seaweed becomes soft, you can microwave the snack to make it more crispy. So, we tried putting it in the microwave for 1 minute. Indeed, it became more crispy!


Taste/Quality

Upon opening the packaging, the aroma instantly spelled N-O-R-I! We were also impressed because when we opened the packaging, there were so many seaweed strips inside. Compared to other snacks wherein the packaging seemingly contains 50% air and 50% snack pieces, this one really contains many seaweed snack strips. Plus, the seaweed strips were not crushed into bits and pieces despite it being shipped. Each Seleco seaweed strip is around 6-8 inches long, 1 ½ inches wide.

Topped with bits of crispy fish, the roasted seaweed pieces offer a delicious blend of saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness. We guessed the saltiness came from the seaweed itself, and the right blend of spiciness and sweetness came from the fish tidbits. Those who love to eat crispy seaweed snack would surely love this snack as much as we did!

A healthier alternative snack

We also love that Seleco seaweed snacks are baked, not fried, so they are healthier than other snack chips! They also have no Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and are low in fat. That’s good news!

Price

We think the product is reasonably priced at P75 considering the packaging, taste, and quality. Knowing this is a specialty snack and not just your ordinary potato chips, it would be fair enough to price it at its current level.

We hope to see more of Seleco snacks in the market, perhaps more flavors in different packaging sizes, yes?

Overall rating: 8/10

Details on Seleco Big Bite Roasted Crispy Seaweed Topped with Crispy Fish

Where to buy: WORKS5 Commodities’ Multiply Site

Contact Number: 0922 898 5544

Are you interested to try this snack or have you tried it? Was this post helpful? We want to hear from you! 🙂

-foodmarks | marking culinary journeys

Pinoy’s Charm in A Lorcha

Filipinos, or “Pinoys” as we call ourselves, are all over the world. The reasons vary from touring a place, visiting a relative, and probably the most common: being an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) and Macau is no exception to this.

As a tourist, I was very glad to see “kababayans” or countrymen in a must-try Portuguese food place in Macau, A Lorcha. It made our New Year’s Eve more special because my family and I were really taken care of by the staff. We felt home away from home with the hospitality of the Filipino staff.

Since we had a reservation there and we were getting late, we just took a cab going there. Also, it is located at the other end of Macau. So, it is advisable just to take a cab for convenience.

Facilities

The place has a very warm vibe, suggesting that families of different ages are very much welcome there. As of what I remembered, everyone was having a good time or maybe it was just me enjoying unlimited bread and butter. Haha!

More bread!!!

Customer Service

Superb! They were friendly not just to us Filipinos but to other foreigners and the locals as well. Honestly, I felt even prouder to be a Filipino when I was there.

Left to Right: Dad, Filipino Server (I forgot the name) and I

Behind me is a very friendly Filipino guard.

Food

According to internet sources, A Lorcha’s bestseller would be their clams in garlic and olive oil. We ordered that together with the other recommendations of our server, Portuguese rice and Portuguese chicken.

Clams in Garlic and Olive Oil: It was so good! It’s no doubt this dish is very famous.

Portuguese Rice: Western and Eastern flavors were infused very well in this dish. I am not a fan of the taste of chorizo, hence it was not my favorite but my mom really liked it.

Portuguese Chicken: I was confused with this because the Portuguese chicken that we ordered in Solmar was like chicken curry. With this one, it is actually peri-peri spiced chicken. It was flavorful, tender, and juicy! Our server said it’s better than Jollibee’s Chickenjoy. 🙂

Dining at A Lorcha last New Year’s Eve 2012 was really memorable for my family and I. The food was good. The service was exceptional. The whole experience was just awesome! I will surely go back in A Lorcha!

Overall Rating: 9/10

Details on A Lorcha

Address: 289 Rua Do Almirante Sergio, Macau

Telephone Number: 28313193 and 28313195

Website: A Lorcha on Facebook

Chinese Name: Thanks for the assistance of the tourism business center in Macau. They gave me the Chinese name for A Lorcha.Below is the scanned handwritten Chinese name of A Lorcha.

Have you been to this food place? What was your experience? Is this post helpful? What can you say about the Filipino servers? Share your thoughts!

-foodmarks | marking culinary journeys

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