Back when I was a child, my knowledge of Japanese cuisine was limited to raw meat and vegetables.  I didn’t like it.  As time goes by, the menu list in my Japanese vocabulary has increased, and certainly tonkatsu tops it all.

Fortunately, the original taste of the Japanese cutlet is brought to the Philippines through the establishment of a branch in Makati City of a restaurant named Saboten.

It all started in the neighborhood of Shinjuku, Tokyo, where Saboten opened its very first shop back in 1966.  Its name, which is "cactus" in Japanese, was chosen to represent the founder's vision - to build a shop that will thrive with vitality even in the harshest conditions.

Now, Saboten has flourished into one of the largest Tonkatsu chains with over 500 shops in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, China and now, the Philippines.

I was the last one to arrive for a dinner with other bloggers at Saboten situated at Glorietta 5 Makati City in an event organized by Raintree Restaurants and Will Explore Philippines.  A heavy downpour of rain was the backdrop.  

A glass of mojito was the first thing I noticed placed on the table by the waiting staff along with other fruit shakes.  So is this going to be a drinking session? Well, no.  It was a separate order by one of the bloggers.  An isolated case.

While we wait for each set of meal to be placed on our table, I can’t help but notice the wall interiors of the restaurant.  It was truly refreshing, pleasing to the eyes with the subtle lighting and for running out of words to say – indeed very Japanese.

The deep-fried shrimp is my favorite.  The tenderloin set – grated radish and the original loin were tasty as well that even without any sauce or condiments for that matter, they can stand alone in its flavor. 

The tonkatsu’s looked the same in appearance and I couldn’t distinguish which is which not until it lands on my mouth as I savor the flavor.

Shrimp Tonkatsu

Curry Chicken

claypot tenderloin

Grated Radish Loin

Karaage - Japanese version of fried chicken

Chicken Salad Bang

original loin

Tuna Katsu

miso soup

The night appeared as a tonkatsu party and with a huge serving size, everyone had given up and declared ceasefire.  I was full.  And this is one of the rare instances for me when being full does not equate to eating salty, oily and fatty gastronomic delights.

And to complete the course, promising desserts were served.  Unusual for a Japanese restaurant but the cakes were really delicious.  The Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cake was like a chocolate bar, so soft and creamy.  It became everyone’s favorite.

Matcha Lychee Almond Cake

Strawberry Shortcake

Sesame Sansrival Cake

Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cake

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  1. Masarap talaga yan and i second d motion un din notion ko dati raw meat pag sinabing jap foods hahaha

  2. Which is much better saboten or yabu?