fresh no ads
How a Japanese seafood lunch made us so happy |


How a Japanese seafood lunch made us so happy

LIFE & STYLE - Millet M. Mananquil - The Philippine Star
How a Japanese seafood lunch made us so happy
Kazuo Nakamura, JETRO executive director ; Ishiguro Norihiko, JETRO chairman and CEO; Alyanna Uy, Prologue owner and Dough & Grocer COO; and Prologue executive chef Hiroyuki Meno
STAR / File

When we were invited to a Japanese seafood lunch by PR maven Sunny Ku, it was doubly irresistible.

First of all, I am a lover of Japan — its beautiful, scenic places, its exquisite culture, its respectful and charming people, its films, its superb food.

And then, how can a pescatarian like me refuse a meal of all the things that make my heart — rather, tummy — flutter: fish, lobsters, shrimps, squid, clams, oysters?  A carnivore once asked me: “Why do you like fish, lobsters, and all the sea creatures so much?” I answered jokingly: “Because they take a bath every day.”

Seriously, whether it’s just inexpensive onigiri from Family Mart or the priciest kind of toro from the best Tokyo restos, I believe Japanese seafoods are the most delicious and healthiest rewards for our body. Did you ever wonder why the Japanese enjoy longevity?

And so, the menu was a seven-course seafood meal at Prologue inside Mitsukoshi at BGC. It was no coincidence that the venue was Prologue, an excellent resto that has creative Japanese chef Hiroyuki Meno chosen by owner Alyanna Uy.

Lexlee Comia, JETRO project coordinator ; Makoto Sudo, JETRO director; cosplayer Alodia Gosiengfiao-Quimbo; and Makoto Watanabe, JNTO executive d

This certainly wasn’t just an experience for gourmets and gourmands (honestly, I prefer to be classified as the latter). “Japanese seafood isn’t just about taste. It’s also about the people’s profound connection to the sea, which equates the ocean to spiritual nourishment.” This is the experience that goes beyond food that the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) brings to the Philippines.

Norihiko Ishiguro, chairman and CEO of JETRO, said he hopes “to bring Filipinos on a gastronomic journey that celebrates the Land of the Rising Sun’s rich culture and culinary traditions — from fishermen’s rituals to festivals marking bountiful catches.” This aim is achieved in partnership with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

Good food tastes better when shared with good friends such as our lunch tablemates: pretty Alodia Gosiengfiao-Quimbo, the country’s top cosplayer who lived in Japan for two years; and engaging couple Ernie Lopez, who happens to be also a pescatarian, and his lovely wife Michelle Arville, who eats anything and everything.

Aside from interesting stories, we devoured everything that chef Meno served on our table. There was premium hamachi (yellowtail) from Kagoshima; maguro (bluefin tuna) from Nagasaki; hirame (halibut) from Miyagi, uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido, and kombu (dried kelp) from Hokkaido.

Ernie Lopez, Sunny Ku and Michelle Lopez

We enjoyed Surume ika (squid) from Toyama; amaebi (sweet shrimps) from Tottori; hotate (scallops) from Hokkaido; and hamaguri (Asian clams) from Chiba.

To please the meat-eating guests, there was the sought-after Japanese wagyu served with curated sake, and delicate Japanese confections called wagashi.

The seafood spectacle ended with warabimochi (sweet confections) made with French black fig, kinako (sweet, roasted soybean flour) and kuromitsu (syrup made from Okinawa black sugar). There was hoji vanilla ice on the side with traditional hojicha (green tea) from Kyoto.

To make the meal happier, each course was paired with drinks flown all the way from Japan, such as plum wines, gin made of local Mandarin oranges, traditional rice shochu, craft gin and black tea-flavored liqueur Little Kiss.

Oh, yes, the chef deserved a big kiss for this flavorful meal that transported us for two hours to various places in Japan.

Ernie Lopez remarked: “I have never been this busog and this merrily alive after a Japanese meal.” And yes, we answered a resounding hai!

If there is such a thing as liquid courage, ours was simply liquid happiness.

* * *

Follow the author on Instagram and Facebook @milletmartinezmananquil. Email her at

vuukle comment


Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with