Posted in Restaurant Hopping, The Flavors of Asia, The Joy of Snacks, The Wonders of Japanese Cuisine

The Low-cost Japanese Luncheon

Takoyaki from Yoshi's Japanese Deli

It is a fairly common misconception that food has to be expensive to be good.  However, I’ve been able to prove that concept wrong time and again.  Back in college, there was a shop called Marrakesh Express along Pedro Gil that served real Middle Eastern food (as opposed to the rather disturbing shawarma my peers were so fond of scarfing down) and the best blueberry yogurt smoothies for less than P 100.00 and you could always count on Sala Thai along Nakpil St. for reasonably-priced and great-tasting Thai cuisine.

Later on, I would encounter Bali Blue for their incomparable nasi goreng with two sticks of peanutty sate ayam, Yoshinoya for humongous bowls of gyudon, and Flaming Hot for the rib-sticking P 69.00 meal.

These days, when the chips are down, payday seems ages away , and I’m craving for Japanese food, P 150.00 gets me a hefty Japanese street-stall style lunch over at Yoshi’s Japanese Deli.

Shoyu Beef Yakisoba

Yoshi’s offers a number of Japanese dishes for less than P 100.00 each and satisfies the heartiest of eaters with Sumo Bento sets for just a little over P 200.

As far as cheap eats go, it’s quite good.  The takoyaki shown at the top of this post looks like it spent more time in the aebelskiver-style griddle than most octopus dumplings currently available on the market.  But these burnished outsides are deliciously crunchy and the insides are like chawan mushi – custard-textured, savory, and full of oniony flavor; the smoothness is made more interesting by the chewy bits of octopus.  Throw in the tang of the classic sauce, some Kewpie-brand mayonnaise, and a generous sprinkle of nori, and your tastebuds are in for a treat.

But, since you can’t lunch on takoyaki alone, there’s always a heaping bowl of shoyu beef yakisoba to go with the octopus dumplings.  The beef is shockingly salty, but the saltiness is thrown off by the bland noodles.  Not one of my favorite noodle bowls, alas, but it’s most satisfying.

Mixmate Ginger Ale

Yoshi’s is also one of those rare places that serves – ta-dah!ginger ale.  One sip of this and, yes, I am certainly a happy camper.  😉



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

3 thoughts on “The Low-cost Japanese Luncheon

  1. i’m beginning to lose appetite on nasi goreng, nasi lemak-ayam, mee goreng on a DAILY BASIS. but can’t complain because they’re more affordable here. i know you know that a set would only cost here RM1 (PhP 14). how cheap is that? 🙂

    …i’m officially craving for pinoy food, marga. 🙂

  2. speaking of takoyaki, the best i’ve tasted in manila was from hana in little tokyo, makati but quite pricey at PhP 100 per 4 pcs, although it has bits of real octopus.

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