I ate a poisonous fish and didn’t die

I’ve mentioned it before—one of my dream vacation is eating my way in Japan. This country is one of my dream destinations. If this happens someday, I will share everything with you.

sekitori interiors01
Sekitori interiors

Anyway, since Japan is fairly near the Philippines and many Japanese call my country their home, it’s easy for us to get a Japanese experience, especially when it comes to food. There are several Japanese restaurants already here in Metro Manila that offer different kinds of Japanese food experiences—from fast food to buffet extravaganza to authentic eats.

One such restaurant that promises “authentic” Japanese cuisine is Sekitori in Ortigas. Owned by former sumo wrestler Seto Masakazu who made sure that the restaurant serves the most authentic Japanese food in Manila.

sekitori chanko nabe is a traditional sumo wrestler meal, it's a big hotpot of vegetables and meat
Sekitori Chanko Nabe is a traditional sumo wrestler meal, it’s a big hotpot of vegetables and meat.

From the get go, Seto-san made the restaurant look like a homage to sumo wrestlers. Photos of champion wrestlers, including his uncle, adorn the resto interiors. And traditional Japanese dining setup is available at the restaurant’s second floor. More than the interiors, Sekitori serves classic Japanese food that we Filipinos have come to love, traditional sumo wrestler fare, and even the infamous fugu.

yasai no kyu-fu taki awase or traditional Kyoto boiled vegetables
Yasai no Kyu-fu Taki Awase or traditional Kyoto boiled vegetables

For those who doesn’t know what fugu is, it’s a kind of fish—a pufferfish to be exact. This sea creature is actually poisonous but the Japanese has been eating this—sashimi style—for many years now. It has become one of its famous delicacy and only trained and certified chefs are allowed to prepare it. I was able to eat two thin slices of fugu at Sekitori and I am still alive, writing this blog post. The fugu sashimi slices were so thin it doesn’t have a distinct taste. But what got me was the thrill of dying. Okay, I knew that it wouldn’t happen because Sekitori’s executive chef Kamimoto Keita is certified.

shinshu premium beef steak
Shinshu premium beef steak

But Sekitori has more to offer than just fugu sashimi. The Sekitori Chanko Nabe is a traditional hot pot dish for sumo wrestlers. The dish is a mix of various vegetables and protein in a steaming pot of special broth. The serving is huge, good for six to eight people. Another must-try is the Yasai no Kyo-fu Taki Awase, a traditional Kyoto vegetable dish. Assistant chef Yoshi Mitsume is a native of Kyoto and specializes in the region’s cuisine. The simple-looking vegetable dish was actually intricately prepared. Each vegetable—carrot, shitake mushroom, daikon (radish), squash, and snow peas—are separately cooked then put together in one dish, the result: a delicate dish that is light and yet flavorful.

assorted Japanese sweets including two tyes of traditional sweets made from sakura blossom
Assorted Japanese desserts including two types of traditional sweets made from sakura blossom

Another dish that stood out for me was the dessert. The dessert platter included two seasonal Japanese sweets made from sakura blossom or cherry blossom. Yes, those beautiful pink flowers can be eaten, too.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Sekitori is located at the ground floor of Hantson Square, San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City / +632 881 7985


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