Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Katsu Cafe Banawe: Recommended Dishes and Trivia

Since they opened their branch here in Banawe last February, I've been here for more than 10 times already (lost count)! In fact, even if I don't check-in always, I'm still the "Mayor" of Katsu Cafe in Foursquare! (accurate as of posting date) :)

Situated right beside Tazza cafe (Genki carwash) and in front of Capreal, Katsu Cafe's ambiance radiates even outside their establishment. I love their rustic interiors and I'm proud to say that I personally know the interior designer of the place.

Here are my top 3 recommended dishes to try out in Katsu Cafe:
1) Jumbo Prawn Tempura Set | Php 260.00
Served with miso soup and unlimited Japanese rice
You'll know you're eating good food the moment you sink your teeth into it. I consider something good if it reminds you of something (good also, of course). In this case, as soon as I took a bite, I recalled the moment we went to Tokyo Disneyland and had dinner somewhere on the way back to the hotel. Yes, this tempura reminded me of that tempura I ate in Japan. Can be considered authentic, I think? Very similar crunch and consistency if I may say so. I hope they maintain the consistency on how they prepared their tempura.

Their miso soup is good as well. It has japanese tofu, wakame seaweed (the thick green that usually sinks to the bottom of the soup) and a nice semi-creamy soup base. A little trivia,

Christian Japanese refugees who came to the Philippines during the Edo period brought along miso soup, but the Filipino recipe sinigang differs mainly by the inclusion of tamarind, which gives it a more sour taste than the original Japanese version.

Sooo... I didn't know that Sinigang is actually the Filipino version if miso soup! Another trivia,
According to Japanese custom, the solid ingredients of the miso soup are chosen to reflect the seasons and to provide contrasts of color, texture, and flavor.

2) Pork Katsu Set | Php 195.00
Served with miso soup, side salad and unlimited Japanese rice
I love the act of grinding the sesame seeds. I just sometimes wonder which one tastes better as I've never tried just the white one or just the black one only. Well, since you might be also wondering now that I've told you, might as well share what I learned about it.

Difference between white and black sesame seeds: [Source: eHow]
*Black sesame seeds are not hulled, while the protective casing has been removed from white sesame seeds.

*Black sesame seeds have a slightly bitter taste, but produce the highest quality oil. White sesame seeds have an earthy, nutty taste and are better suited for sweeter recipes such as cakes and sesame bars

*White sesame seeds and black sesame seeds are used for very different purposes. White sesame seeds are popular in food products, while black sesame seeds are pressed for oil or used in alternative medicine. White sesame seeds are also very popular ground down into a fine powder to create tahini, a paste used in Arabic cooking. Black sesame seeds have long been associated with health benefits and hair growth.

*Black sesame seeds contain more calcium than hulled (white) sesame seeds. Both varieties contain a high mineral content and are often eaten by people with milk allergies as an alternative source of calcium. They are also an excellent source of magnesium and copper.

Actually, most people cannot tell the difference in taste. I like how restaurants like these get customer participation by letting them make their own sauce. Out of all my visits, I think I've ordered this dish 70% of the time. The parko breading is crispy but once you're through the breading layer, the pork inside is already tender and tasty!

I just find it weird that when I ask for a rice refill, they don't put those sesame seeds on top anymore compared to when they first serve it. Not a problem though as you can request additional sesame seeds and just add 'em manually to your Japanese rice.

Instagram'ed by light_ac
3) Gyudon | Php 215.00
Served with miso soup
I've tasted a lot of Gyudon's already as this was my standard must-order in all the Japanese restaurants I'm eating in before. I won't say that this is the best Gyudon I've ever tasted but this is definitely in my top 10!

Gyūdon is considered to have come from Sukiyaki-don and the old dish gyūnabe, where thin slices of beef are cooked with vegetables in a pot, and at some point was put over rice and served in a bowl. 
Gyū means "cow" or "beef", and don is short for donburi, the Japanese word for "bowl".
..and if you're on a diet, try their Kani salad too! It's good as well!

Place still looks a bit empty but maybe because they just opened. Service also improved a lot compared to the first few weeks after opening. They now have more staff and attentive ones! Also, food has been consistent so far.

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KatsuCafe

Check out the shortcuts to their Facebook apps below:

(They have a promo. Check out the "FREE Katsu Set" tab above. Refer 50 friends and get a free katsu set meal of your choice! 50 sounds a lot? Believe me, it's easy!)

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