Japan is a place I see as my 2nd home, from staying there often last year for long periods of time, aside from the past years that I have been to Japan, last year was the best as I spent a lot of time there with the people close to me. Even though I was there multiple times last year and even stayed for a month during the Christmas and New Year season, I can never get tired of Japan. From the countryside of Takasaki, to my favorite cities; Saitama Gunma and Tokyo. My palate have grown accustomed to the true authentic Japanese taste, and I have always wished for the real authenticity to be present here locally for the times I long for great authentic homemade Japanese food. Well, I found it right here at Zaan Japanese Tea House. Zaan Japanese Tea House is located at the Norfil Foundation Bldg. 16 Mother Ignacia Avenue Corner Don Roces Avenue, very easy to spot as it is at the ground floor of a small yellow building. Upon entering, you are greeted to a very traditional inspired Japanese Zen dining area, really beautiful, peaceful, and cozy! There is a beautiful Tatami area for eating and where they do the Japanese tea ceremonies. The aura is very elevating and relaxing. Really great for both relaxing and hanging-out with friends and family. It’s actually as if you are teleported to traditional Japan! You have to see it for yourself to know how great the place is!
Zaan Japanese Tea House was actually a surprise business for miss Non Iwamoto. Her original business was TsokoFino, locally handmade chocolates that she has created and is sold to select stores. Upon the growth of TsokoFino, they had to find a place to make more as demands grew bigger. Upon finding a place in Q.C., they realized it is too big, and from there on out, Zaan Japanese Tea House was born!
TsokoFino along with Zaan is created by miss Non Iwamoto with the fuel to bridge both the Japanese and Filipino culture. This is why miss Non created TsokoFino, and at the same time, offers these chocolates and uses the same chocolates in Zaan’s desserts. Miss Non Iwamoto has great passion for food, from creating her own local chocolate business as she knows she can offer something special, to building Zaan and giving her best into putting authentic homemade Japanese tea, dishes, and delicacies to the table with her passion for good food. I really believe myself that she has special tastes and skill.
Before I begin talking about Zaan Japanese Tea House, I’d just like to show you guys the really delicious TsokoFino products that miss Non Iwomoto has created and is also selling in Zaan. Here are some of the TsokoFino products available at Zaan and other stores, oh and also, they have the PiliFino which are pili nuts with different flavors from Honey, Roasted, Garlic, and Salty. A product made my miss Non Iwomoto as well.
TsokoFino has a handful of flavors to choose from as well, these are: Rocher, Mango, Salty Pili, and Sweet Pili. I personally love the Salty Pili!
Zaan Japanese Tea House specializes not just on different type of authentic Japanese tea, they also specialize in Soba. Having a wide variety of Soba noodles that are all homemade by Japanese, from regular Soba (buckwheat noodles) to Cha Soba (green tea buckwheat) noodles in their special sauce, I tell you, this is just like when I am in Japan!
Nothing locally has every made me feel like I am back in Japan aside from this! The bodied texture of the homemade authentic buckwheat noodles paired with the lingering flavor of their special sauce is very fulfilling and delighting! The noodles are firm and well textured and truly handmade fresh. A must try in my book. Oh and it’s low calorie too!
Their rice bowls are also great! At affordable prices even when they are truly authentic and homemade, definitely hard to beat! You’ll also find it cool and cute that even the chopstick rest is handmade, origami!
We had Sukiyaki and Soboro for the rice bowls, and my personal pick was the Soboro. I really liked it! The flavor was very delicate yet captivating. Very far from local Japanese restaurants blazing with too much flavor that is way too overboard and not reminiscent of true Japanese taste.
Moving to the Japanese tea, they have a handful of flavors to choose from. All aromatic and refreshing, a true relaxing experience combined with the beautiful aura that envelops Zaan. From Matcha, Genmai cha, Ryoku Cha, Kuromame cha, definitely a ton of variety that can rarely be found locally and in true authentic form! They even have Japanese tea ceremonies from time to time!
Coffee too are available at Zaan, and what better way to enjoy it than with even the smallest differences of how Coffee is done in Japan and locally. Their Iced Coffee is served with the milk as ice. I personally love the Iced Coffee here and I cannot wait to go back!
Dessert time! In Zaan, they offer Wagashi, these are Japanese confectionery often matched with tea. So yes, Zaan truly will give you an amazing appreciation and experience with their dishes and tea. Their line-up of Wagashi are also very extensive, some of the Wagashi that they serve are the Dorayaki, Yatsuhashi, Uiro, and the Kintsuba. These are the 4 that we greatly enjoyed.
My favorite was the Dorayaki, it is the pancake looking Wagashi with Azuki red beans inside. I loved the texture of the cake on the top and bottom that really contrasted with the Azuki in a very positive way, as you are not flooded with the texture of the Azuki and because the Azuki’s taste is neutralized and spread out. Oh and did you know, Dorayaki is Doraemon’s favorite hehehe!
We also tried out the TsokoFino Ice Cream which is an Ice Cream dessert with homemade TsokoFino chocolates, homemade ice cream, and homemade chocolate syrup by none-other than miss Non Iwamoto. Amazing at all the recipes that she can make from scratch! The Ice Cream was so smooth with a tongue tickling exclamation point indented by the homemade chocolate syrup and the TsokoFino dark chocolate topping!
Overall, I am definitely heading back to Zaan. I might even come back as soon as this week! If you are looking for true authentic Japanese taste that rivals the most expensive authentic Japanese restaurants locally, Zaan is standing tall. I invite you to come and try it and experience what Japanese food is really about. The katsu, ramen, and sushi are not often found in authentic Japanese homes, the dishes and delicacies of Zaan are what is truly the essence of Japanese food. With the homemade Japanese dishes that are established by homemade ingredients like their Soba noodles, and even the homemade chocolates that are the foundation of their desserts. Nothing local beats the authenticity and the passion that miss Non Iwamoto has put into Zaan and her homemade products! So come and experience Japan in Zaan Japanese Tea House.