- Category: Life
- Published on Saturday, 10 November 2012 20:23
- Written by Marianne T. Escanilla / Special Features Writer
THE beauty of the Philippines is usually attributed to its good weather, good food and, of course, the many magnificent islands and beaches that abound in the country. With its 7,107 islands, it is not a wonder that the Philippines possesses some of the world-renowned beaches perfect for vacation and escapades. One of these beaches is the world-famous Boracay Island in the Visayan province of Aklan.
Boracay, for the longest time, is named as one of the top go-to destinations in the country by tourists and locals alike. With its fine, white-sand beach and the marvelous sites to witness, vacationers would surely enjoy their stay on the famed island.
But it is not just these that make Boracay a definite place to visit. There are more to discover and explore on the island. One of these would be the eclectic cuisines served around the place. There are these cheap street foods and Chori burger, which are the must-try delicacies by the beach, then there are the fast-food chains and pizza stores that we all get to try here in the city, and then there are these specialty-themed restaurants at the center of the busy district of the island, which we could only take pleasure in upon our visit to Boracay.
Hama Japanese Restaurant is one of these many dining places that Boracay guests and residents enjoy. Before its establishment in 2008, foodies who want to eat Japanese food have to go somewhere else. Hama Japanese Restaurant is the first of its kind on the island, which serves fresh and authentic Japanese cuisine to its diners.
What makes Hama a distinct dining place on its own right aside from its location behind the chubibo? It serves fresh and authentic Japanese cuisine with a magnificent beachfront not far from your reach. Aside from the freshness of the ingredients used in every dish on its menu, the fact that you are in Boracay while feasting over Japanese staples such as sushi and sashimi creates a unique experience you only get to enjoy at Hama.
The Hama origin
LIKE all good ideas, Hama Japanese cuisine started with a craving. “My business partner, Paolo Occhionero, and I really like Japanese food,” explains the restaurant’s co-founder Juan Elizalde. “But there wasn’t a restaurant in Boracay that offers high-quality Japanese cuisine.”
In 2008 the restaurateur founded Aria Cucina Italiana, one of the island’s favorite foodie stops, and Café del Sol. Each establishment brought to Boracay items that passionately represented Elizalde’s palate: authentic Italian cuisine and topnotch coffee, respectively. When the opportunity to open a Japanese restaurant in the heart of D’Mall presented itself, the decision to open Hama was a foregone conclusion.
Hama has become a favorite among tourist and local visitors of the island when it comes to dining since its opening four years ago. Tourists and locals gather to the restaurant for the traditional offerings, like the wide assortment of sushi and sashimi, as well as the more modern cuisine with a twist, such as Hama’s signature Seared Tuna Tartar. The menu thrills even the restaurant’s founder. “I love going to Hama,” he says, adding, “in fact, I get excited about it every time we fly to Boracay!”
A Japanese feast
JAPANESE cuisine is one of the most appreciated and loved gastronomic adventures of Filipinos. We are very familiar with the taste and experience that this gastronomy gives us whenever we try a new Japanese restaurant. This familiarity gives us the authority to be particular to where we want to enjoy the delicious Japanese fare that we love. At Hama, authenticity of flavors of the well-loved traditional Japanese dishes to the selections incorporated with a little twist will be served in every dish included on its menu.
Hama offers a wide array of Japanese favorites, from the sushi to the sashimi. Hama even has its signature style of sashimi called the New Style Hama Sashimi, fresh slices of red snapper served with ponzu sauce and udo curls. Hama also has a wide selection of sushi, including the Pink Lady, which is a salmon, kani and cucumber salad roll for a delicious low-carb, yet undeniably Japanese dish. Salmon Dragon Maki is also available on Hama’s sushi menu, which will definitely be another favorite once you tried one out. This dish is one of the many ways Hama prepares salmon, one of the favorite ingredients on a Japanese restaurant menu.
At Hama, salmon is one ingredient which is incorporated in most of its dishes. Hama’s Salmon three-way salad is definitely a new experience for salmon and salad lovers alike to try out. The beautiful combination of the three different ways salmon is prepared in a single dish gives the diner a new dining experience. But one dish that really makes a statement on Hama’s menu is the Plank Roasted Salmon, an oven-toasted salmon fillet served with cha soba. This selection will definitely bring you to a flavorful journey especially with the roasted salmon’s zest that perfectly blends with the unique essence of the cha soba.
Hama can give you the authentic taste of a Japanese cuisine but a diner cannot also resist the dishes that are prepared with a twist to add more zest to any Japanese dish. The popular sake is also given a new expression with Hama’s selection of sake-based cocktails. While ladies will enjoy the irresistible sweetness of the Blushing Geisha and the Hai Tai, gents can indulge themselves in the brusque flavors of the Ginza and the Eager Ninja.
The cocktails make Hama a prime spot for nightcaps, allowing customers to revel in Boracay’s famed nightlife while enjoying the best Japanese food the island has to offer.
Hama’s menu also includes a slew of favorites, including shabu-shabu, tempura, sukiyaki, tonkatsu and a wide selection of yakitori, ramen, tobanyaki and donburi selections. The recent addition of a teppanyaki grill brings with it an even more unique experience on the island, where skilled chefs prepare sizzling Japanese treats before the diners’ eyes.
Sampler plates are available for most non-soup items, the most eye-catching of which is Hama’s famed Sushi Boat, which highlights eight of the restaurant’s top sushi and maki offerings.
Hama will definitely be a place to chill, relax and enjoy a Japanese feast among beach goers on the famed Boracay Island. It is a place perfect for a vacation escapade while having your tummy filled with delightful flavors. Visit Hama Japanese Cuisine in the center of D’Mall Plaza, Station2, Boracay Island, Aklan.