I spent my first weekend night out for 2014 with my dear sisterloo (real name Katherine, fun name Katchu :D.) The highlight of our day was dinner at the U.P. Town Center in Ginza Bairin, an international franchise that began in Ginza, Tokyo back in the late 1920s. I’ve read great reviews about their food and so we were thrilled to give it a try.
Firstly, the U.P. Town Center is a newly-opened block of restaurants along Katipunan Avenue just across the University of the Philippines-Diliman campus. We both attended the university many many many moons ago hehe and it was nice to drive through it and see old hangout places still very much alive. Now, onto this very new hangout place. Our target: Ginza Bairin. We found it right away (it’s on the ground floor) and gladly accepted to be seated even at the food counter. All the “proper” tables were occupied. There were I think three large groups of diners the time we came in and the place is pretty tight.
As a starter, we ordered Edamame (P115) and Gyoza (P150). I’ve been curious for some time now what edamame is. I thought it was some kind of pepper but it’s actually just green soybean! It’s boiled and salted and you just pop the beans in your mouth. What a wholesome and delicious snack! The gyoza or pot stickers were also a treat. This is the first time I’ve seen gyoza presented this way with a crusty film on top.
For the main meal, I had the Special Katsudon set (P395) with hire (pork fillet) and my sister ordered their Rosu (pork loin) Katsudon. For those not familiar with katsudon, it’s a bowl of rice (donburi) topped with deep fried breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu), egg and a special sauce. The set also came with miso soup, shredded cabbage (I added roasted sesame dressing to this…YUM!), Japanese pickles and pineapples (or any seasonal fruit).
We absolutely loved the food! The pork is very tender and juicy. They use cottonseed oil for frying and their own panko (breading) . A delicious broth flavors the perfectly cooked rice. This particular Gaizin dish has double servings of fresh eggs (one mixed with the pork and one for the topping). There are many ways to eat Katsudon. The typical way for Filipinos is to mix everything together. Traditionally, you break the egg yolk and spread it over the pork or dip the pork into the yolk before taking a bite. Any way you choose, it’s delicious! I must bring Ren to this place! 🙂
G/F U.P. Town Center
Diliman, Quezon City
G/F Glorietta 2
Palm Dr Ayala Center, Makati
Facebook: Ginza Bairin