Ginza Bairin opens at the new Glorietta
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Is Manila ready for another tonkatsu brand?
Ginza Bairin is the latest tonkatsu restaurant to open at the new Glorietta 2.
What sets it apart is heritage that goes back to 1927, when the first Ginza Bairin opened in the now-posh district of Ginza in Tokyo.

Ginza Bairin

It was founded by Mr. Nobukatsu Shibuya, who formulated the first tonkatsu sauce, prior to the invention of Bulldog sauce. Watch this:

Last Tuesday we got to meet the founder’s grandson, Mr. Masaya Shibuya, who was in town to open the first branch in Manila. At right is Mr. Tetsuya Oyabu of Ginza Bairin Japan.


We started off with a bowl of ligtly salted edamame

Ginza Bairn

and got acquainted with the sauces on the table

Ginza Bairn

Grind your own sesame seeds

Ginza Bairn

Add the special sauce

Ginza Bairin Special Tonkatsu Sauce

Also on the menu is this unique-looking gyoza

Ginza Bairn

Eel katsu

Ginza Bairn

Kushi katsu with meat and onion inside

Ginza Bairn

Meet my lunch: a sampler set of prawn, rosu, and hire katsu. The price is surprisingly affordable (around Php 475) for this and unlimited unlimited Japanese rice, fresh cabbage salad and dressings, miso soup, seasonal tsukemono (Japanese pickles), and genmaicha (Japanese brown rice tea).
All teishoku (set meals) also include a serving of seasonal fresh fruit.

Ginza Bairn

Ginza Bairin uses only the freshest meat using Japan-approved quality standards.
For its Kurobuta Tonkatsu, it uses Black Berkshire pig—prized for its marbling, juiciness, flavor, and tenderness. For frying, they use only cottonseed oil, a healthier alternative with zero trans fat.
The panko (breadcrumbs) used to coat the katsu is imported from Japan, made from an exclusive, in-house recipe especially made for katsu.


International Head Chef Yoshijiro Miyakozawa flew in to Manila to train the Philippine chefs the Ginza Bairin way

Ginza Bairn
Ginza Bairn

Now you can enjoy authentic katsu in three delicious ways:
First, as tonkatsu, or pork cutlet

Ginza Bairin dishes

Secondly, as Bairin Katsu Sando, or hire katsu sandwich

Ginza Bairn

Third, as katsudon, particularly the Ginza Bairin Special Katsudon, often hailed as “Number One Donburi in Japan.
It combines tender hire katsu, Japanese rice, special sauce, and farm-fresh eggs.

Ginza Bairin dishes

From a small store in Ginza, Tokyo, Ginza Bairin has branched out to Honolulu, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and now in Manila.
And for Scott Tan, Philippine Managing Director, Ginza Bairin is a passion project. “I recall eating at Ginza Bairin as a young, katsudon-obsessed boy on family trips to Japan. Ginza Bairin pioneered the katsu house as we know it—and today, I am deeply honored to have been chosen by Shibuya-san to be part of his family’s legacy.“

Ginza Bairn
From L-R: Mr. Yukio Hayashi (Ginza Bairin Philippines head chef), Scott Tan and Jimmy Tan of Ginza Bairin Philippines, Mr. Masaya Shibuya (President of Ginza Bairin), Mr. Yoshijiro Miyakozawa (Ginza International Head Chef), and Mr. Tetuya Oyabu, also of Ginza Bairin.

Ginza Bairin is at the Ground Floor, Glorietta 2, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City.
For inquiries and reservations, call 553-7350.

How to win a special giveaway from Taguig
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When I first met Lani Cayetano in 2007, I knew her as the wife of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano—or the woman behind the man

Alan Peter and his wife Lanie

Through the years I’ve gotten to know her a little better, and got to like her

Jeroen, Alan, Lani Cayetano

I like that she has remained simple—she is never garbed in designer labels—even with her change in stature

Mayor Lani Cayetano with Cedric Cid at Muji

Since 2010, she has been the beloved, respected, and hardworking Mayor of Taguig.

Manny Villar swears in Lani Cayetano

When she’s not cutting ribbons, she is working behind the scenes to make Taguig a better place

Ribbon cutting at Bench Tower
Lani Cayetano at work

Very recently, I found out that students in Taguig public schools enjoy free head-to-toe school uniforms, shoes and other school supplies, apart from the free education.
AS a mom, I find these so touching, knowing that many parents in Taguig needn’t worry about their kids going to school.
Taguig's free school supplies
For me, it sounds unreal! I really want Lani for President or First Lady!!
This year the Taguig notebook was extra special IMO, because my sister Ana was asked to design them for free.
Each Taguig public school student gets a set of these for the school year. You can check Ana’s site HERE.

Lani Cayetano's notebooks by Ana Maria Zamora

There’s the back and front cover. Try to spot Mayor Lani at the bottom of the back cover

chuvaness giveaway

I like them so much, I asked Lani if she could spare some for my readers, and she sent me a box! (they were extras)
To make the giveaway extra special, I packed them in five faux-leather train cases from Korea

chuvaness giveaway

I added some CarbTrim iced tea mixes—a great weight management solution

chuvaness giveaway

And threw in a couple of random Mich Dulce x BENCH hair accessories (items may vary) and a Botong Francisco x FREEWAY mousepad. The train case also comes with a removable shoulder strap.

chuvaness giveaway

Here’s how to join:

1) You must have a Philippine address.
2) Must have a Twitter or Facebook account.
3) Share this story by clicking on the Tweet or Like button at the bottom of the entry.
4) Register HERE for the electronic lottery.
5) Deadline for entries is on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 11 PM.
6) Winners will be chosen via electronic lottery and posted on this blog.
7) Winners will be emailed for verification.
8) Prizes may be shipped or picked up, depending on winners’ location.

New dishes at Mandarin Oriental’s Tivoli
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You guys are so lucky.
When I was growing up, there weren’t many cool places to dine in.
During the early ’90s, the Mandarin Oriental’s Tivoli was the place to go.
At that time I was a lifestyle writer at the Philippine Daily Globe. Of course I couldn’t afford it!
I do have fond memories of Tivoli during the ’90s: once when my friend Tonyboy de Leon treated me and Jenny Gonzales to a fancy dinner. Another time, when Inno Sotto and Richard Tann invited me for dinner.
So special were those occasions, I even remember what I wore.

So, when the Mandarin Oriental’s Director of Communications, Charisse Chuidian invited us to try The Tivoli’s new dishes, I couldn’t say no. Lunch was served at The Tivoli’s Roxas Room, named after former President Manuel Roxas

The Tivoli's Roxas Room

We met the Mandarin Oriental’s Food & Beverage Director, Peter Pysk and The Tivoli’s Executive Sous Chef Remi Vercelli—dying to know if there is a rat under that hat

Peter Pysk and Chef Remi

And then we were told to order anything on the menu!
I’m a simple girl, so I started with bread and butter, which came in the form of a cone

tiger bread and butter

The Tivoli is known for steaks—of course I had to have that. This was my US ribeye

US Beef Tenderloin Rossini

with the best side of hot and bubbling potatoes au gratin

potatoes salardaise

The rest of the guests went crazy with foie gras, such as Tivoli Foie Gras Terrine and pickled mushroom salad

Tivoli Foie Gras Terrine and pickled mushroom salad

Sauteed duck foie gras, asparagus, mango and green papaya chutney

foie gras

US beef tenderloin Rossini with potato Sarladaise

US beef tenderloin Rossini with potato sarladaise

Some of the braver souls ordered Australian kidney a la dijonnaise vol au vent

Australian kidney a la dijonnaise vol au vent

Others on the menu: Grilled Australian lamb chops

Grilled Australian lamb chops

Steamed Dover sole paupiette with seafood stew and lobster broth

Steamed Dover sole paupiette with seafood stew and lobster broth

Chicken “dodine” stuffed with dried fruits, braised cabbage

Roast chicken sage butter and rosemary , Potato galette with pancetta, mushrooms  and asparagus, chicken jus

We ended with lots of very unique desserts, care of their new Executive Pastry Chef Darren Harding

Executive Pastry Chef Darren Harding

These you have to try: Baked espresso tart with Baileys Mascarpone ice cream

Baked espresso tart with Baileys Mascarpone ice cream

One of the guests was celebrating his birthday—Scott Garceau’s birthday cake was a work of art

Scott Garceau

You can buy a larger version of this at the Mandarin deli on the ground floor

Scott's birthday cake

And finally, I’ll never forget the chocolate bomb they served us—Tivoli’s signature dessert.
Hot chocolate is poured over a chocolate ball to reveal surprise fruits of strawberry and basil.
Don’t miss this!

Aside from the ala carte menu, a good way to try as many of Tivoli’s dishes is through a degustation menu that highlights The Tivoli’s specialties—available in three or six courses, at PHP1,980+ and PHP3,180+ respectively.
The Business Lunch menu—a three-course menu consisting of an appetizer buffet or soup, a main course from five choices, and dessert—provides a smart option for diners who have an hour for lunch.
This weekly-changing menu is offered from Monday to Friday and is priced at PHP 1,818++.
An option to avail of two courses is priced at PHP 1,518++, while the Salad and Appetizer buffet, a favorite of ladies who lunch, is at PHP 869++.

The Tivoli is open for lunch on Monday to Friday and dinner on Monday to Saturday.
For more information call 750-8888 or email

TLC does Fun Asia: Philippines
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TLC’s Fun Taiwan host Janet Hsieh is on a mission to conquer as many islands as she can as she hosts a one-hour special in Fun Asia: Philippines to discover the country’s history, culture, fashion, music, food and entertainment.

Fun Asia - Philippines (2)

Janet follows her local friends: arts and cultural activist Carlos Celdran, TV host Bianca Gonzalez, food blogger Erwan Heussaff, artist and musician Budoy of Filipino Reggae band Junior Kilat, and many others—starting with the local port city of Manila before heading to Cebu and Bohol Island.

Fun Asia - Philippines (5)
With Bianca Gonzalez

Fun Asia - Philippines (1)
With Carlos Celdran

While in Manila, Janet learns about the city’s influences, visits the San Augustin church and San Sebastian Basillica, goes on a shopping spree, takes a bite off local delicacies like beef tapa, longanisa and sinigang, and dances the calories away at a local nightclub.

Fun Asia - Philippines (4)
Erwan and Janet get Breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay

Fun Asia - Philippines (3)
With Budoy and Junior Kilat

For the perfect hangover cure, Janet scoots off to the natural paradise that is Cebu and Bohol Island.
While there, she covers a range of activities from diving in the deep blue, riding on bamboo rafts to enjoying some tasty beach barbeque and even catches a glimpse of the Philippines’ favourite territorial nocturnal creatures, the tarsiers.

Fun Asia: Philippines airs:
Monday, July 22, 2013 at 10 PM
Tuesday, July 23 at 9 AM
Monday, July 29 at 4 PM

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