Japanese Home Cooking further South...
One time, I was supposed to pick up my sister-in-law from Evia. I asked my brother for directions and he told me that as soon as I've passed the 3 gasoline stations along Daang Hari, I should be seeing a Starbucks store soon enough, and I just have to turn right to where I was supposed to meet my SIL. I got the shock of my life when I finally saw Starbucks -- it wasn't JUST Starbucks. There was a beautiful backdrop; "a whole new world" literally came to mind when I saw the enormity of the whole place. It was a gorgeous community of shops, restaurants and service centers which catered to residents of nearby villages and subdivisions. Think Eastwood City with a more laid back and serene vibe of the South. And it had been there for more than a year already! I vowed to come back soon and explore the place, learning that there was Rustan's Supermarket, Ace Hardware, Powerbooks (!), and a host of dining places to try. I also heard they would be opening lots of Store Specialists, Inc. (SSI) shops in one of the buildings.
The next time I was there, we tried Chibi's Kitchen. It's not your usual Japanese sushi, yakitori or ramen shop; it serves meals typical in Japanese homes. Its rustic wooden interiors radiate a relaxed vibe, and you can choose to settle outside for an al fresco experience while people watching. They have these high tables and bar type chairs, and if you don't feel comfortable in those, they have regular seats upstairs.
They also sell Japanese snacks and cute items like boy and girl bento boxes -- adorable!! You pay as you order and wait for your food at your table. Complimentary hot or cold tea is given while you wait.
Chibi's Kitchen mainly offers Teishoku Sets wherein the viands come with white rice, miso soup, salad and the side dish of the week, making it a complete meal.
If you love chicken, Karaage is a good choice, it's a classic Japanese style boneless fried chicken with a thundering crunch. I prefer the Karaage with Takoyaki sauce (see cover photo), though. The combination of the mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, green laver, and katsuobushi brings an additional flavor that's all the more satisfying. The side dish below is called Yasai No Ankake which are vegetables in thick sauce, and this got my vote over the Chawan Mushi side dish.
I really don't have a propensity for fish, the only kinds I like are those with minimal bones like Tilapia, Salmon, Dory, Gindara or Boneless Milkfish. So the saury and mackarel that were served, while flavorful, I didn't get to really appreciate.
If you're hankering for beef, you can opt for the Beef Curry Rice or the Nikujaga if you want something sweeter.
Another dish I loved was the Buta No Kakuni, a slow cooked pork belly that just melts in your mouth, drenched in a rich soy based sauce. It's served with soft boiled egg and green beans.
Gyoza fans will be happy to know they serve one together with the staple Chahan or Japanese fried rice.
Aside from their Teishoku sets, they have Donburi Sets, which are rice toppings that also come with miso soup, salad, and side dish, plus egg. You can choose between Gyudon (beef) or Katsudon (pork). They also have sides like the Weiner, noodles like Yakisoba, and desserts.
So if you plan on visiting the South, put Evia on your list. It's well worth the trip. Forget the Shakey's, McDonald's and other fast food places you'll see. Try Chibi's Kitchen for a nice change, and let me know which dishes you liked.
Spot: G/F Everyday Building Evia Lifestyle Center, Evia City, Las Piñas
Contact No.: 887.0148