Words by Deih Bautista
Photos by Nikki Collantes
Video by Dan Ramos
Settle for nothing less than authentic! Within the busy, nearby streets of Redemptorist Church is the Yokocho Japanese Food Court—a chill, communal Japanese food court in Baclaran, on the 4th floor of Victory Food Market.
Channel your inner zen in Yokocho!
Owned by Jake Akagawa, a Japanese businessman who came to the Philippines four years ago, Yokocho Food Court came up with an idea to boost authentic Japanese cuisine here in the Philippines, as a form of help for his Japanese friends who are chefs and businessmen.
Perfect for those times when your hunger hits you while roaming Baclaran’s bustling streets, what’s not to love about food courts and Japanese food? Here are our favorites!
California Maki Tobiko, Ebi Tempura
(L-R) California Maki Tobiko, Ebi Tempura
When you’re surely tired of being served a sushi roll that’s predominantly rice or tempura that’s mostly bread crumbs, Yokocho will restore your faith in these two Japanese staples.
The California Maki is fresh, never too sticky, and the mango is refreshing to the taste. And for someone allergic to shrimp and crab, I can willingly hoard Yokocho’s Ebi Tempura because it’s. just. that. good.
Truth be told, I’ve always been a beef or pork person for Japanese cuisine. But Yokocho tries to reaffirm my love for all things poultry by serving a great platter of boneless, fuss-free fried chicken (which initially looked like chicken skin only, if you ask me)! It will always serve some Japanese goodness, whether served plain with cucumbers for that sweet taste that blends well with the chicken’s saltiness, or with some Kikkoman and wasabi on the side.
Takoyaki, Gyoza, Okonomiyaki
(L-R) Takoyaki, Gyoza, Okonomiyaki
The Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki craze is always here to stay in the Philippines! I usually frown upon pancakes with vegetables for breakfast, (or any combination of vegetables cooked with batter) but what sets Yokocho’s takoyaki and okonomiyaki apart from the rest is that ingredients are fresh; the batter thinly coats the fresh and homegrown seafood and other ingredients. It does not remind you of sweet pancakes lacking of maple syrup and, overall, Yokocho’s Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki are savory vegetable cakes (think of savory pies, but in a cakier form).
Yokocho’s Gyoza is another story to tell, as this heaven-sent thing instantly silenced the hangry beast in me. It made me crave a steaming hot bowl of ramen shortly, because ramen and dumplings are always great together. <3
Don’t forget to add your broth! We almost burned our shabu shabu, but it still tasted great nevertheless. This hot pot is addictive, sans the many scalds our tongues had to endure. The bowl was overflowing with meat.
Have I mentioned that the food here gets the bang for your buck, with meals never exceeding PHP 300? What a steal! This definitely sets the bar high for other aspiring Japanese food court competitors with its friendly staff, Japanese chefs who taught their cooks how to recreate Japanese creations, and the ambiance that enveloped everyone with warmth and energy.
Worry not, Yokocho has open and closed areas! Definitely perfect for those times you also want to light a stick of cigarette while drinking with your friends. Satisfy your Japanese craving in Yokocho Food Court!
Yokocho Food Court
778 Aguarra, Baclaran, Parañaque, 1702 Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines
Open 11:00AM – 10:00PM