194 – On The Dohtonbori Experience

The tanuki (raccoon dog) is Dohtonbori’s mascot, so expect to see a standee of it in Dohtonbori branches.

What comes in your mind when Japanese street food is mentioned? Some would think of takoyaki—savory batter balls filled with octopus chunks and topped with seaweed and bonito flakes (katsuobushi). Others would think of yakitori—meat and vegetable skewers cooked table-side and served with a shot of sake (rice wine.) But some others would remember okonomiyaki—the Japanese version of a savory pancake.

Okonomiyaki: a complete meal in itself.

Okonomiyaki literally means “grilling what you like,” and is a staple izakaya (bar) food. It consists of a batter made with flour, grated nagaimo yam, water or dashi broth, eggs, shredded cabbage, shrimp, pork, green onions, fish roe, cheese, octopus, squid, and more.

Okonomiyaki comes in different varieties in all corners of Japan, but the Kansai-style variant proves to be the most popular and ubiquitous. Today, this Japanese specialty has reached the Philippines – thanks to Dohtonbori. Considered as the number 1 okonomiyaki restaurant in its home country, Dohtonbori has branches in major malls like SM North EDSA, UP Town Center, and SM City Fairview. Today’s post will feature some of their teppanyaki specialties; I won’t delve too much on the interiors as I want the entry to focus on the food.

Most of Dohtonbori‘s offerings involve cooking on an iron griddle right in the middle of diners’ tables, similar to most Korean restaurants. The first dish on the block is the Miso Cheese Yaki Onigiri (P130)—rice balls topped with grated cheese and heated until the latter melts. Miso paste is then put on top once the rice balls are cooked, creating a savory accompaniment to match the okonomiyaki‘s sweetness.

The Butatama Okonomiyaki (P240) is the most affordable okonomiyaki available at Dohtonbori, containing pork strips to serve as the protein. This is savory enough to eat with rice despite its simplicity. You can choose to cook the okonomiyaki yourself, or let the restaurant’s staff do it for you. Cooking time for each side is 5 minutes, and the staff carry timers to remind them when it’s time to flip the okonomiyaki.

On the other hand, the Modern Yaki (P420) is a radical variation on the traditional okonomiyaki. It uses noodles as an ingredient—a practice prevalent in the Hiroshima area. The Modern Yaki contains additional seafood – shrimp, squid, and octopus – for its protein. Cooking time for this one is longer, since the noodles and pancake itself are cooked separately before being joined together. Dohtonbori‘s Modern Yaki is heavy in itself because of the noodles that play the role of carbohydrates.

Aside from dishes that need to be cooked, Dohtonbori also has offerings you can eat straight away. Alcoholic beverages such as beer, sake (rice wine), and chuhai (flavored liquor) are also available, and so are desserts for a perfect ending to a meal. Here are some of them.

That’s it for my Dohtonbori experience. Do visit their branches and check out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and the Dohtonbori main website.

Until the next review, bon appetit.

(Dohtonbori has branches in SM North EDSA, SM Fairview, UP Town Center, SM Mall of Asia, and an upcoming location at SM Megamall.)

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