MAISEN Philippines: Forget the Usual Katsu Set. Meet the Katsumabushi Special.
I was very hesitant to try out MAISEN here in Manila, because our quality of pork here in the Philippines is very different. I’m not saying we have poor meat, but transporting meat is particularly challenging with Metro Manila traffic, and could affect the taste of the pork, especially if under stress.
I loved Maisen in Tokyo and while I am not primarily a Tonkatsu person, it’s enough to make Maisen an exception to my weird tastebuds. (Butagumi versus Maisen is another story altogether.)
Don’t you think this town is so saturated with Tonkatsu restaurants, they all pretty much offer the same experience? Yabu was passable to me (and I always stay away from ordering pork and choose their Salmon Katsu instead – much more consistently cooked), and Ginza Bairin was such a horrible Tonkatsu experience. I have yet to try Saboten here in Manila, but with snaking lines at Yabu and crickets chirping at Saboten, it has become clear who dominates the metro as the “go-to Tonkatsu place”.
I was absolutely amazed at how Maisen managed to open three branches here in Manila within a month’s time in an effort to still remain relevant in the dining scene, long after the Tonkatsu hype has died down.
If anyone of you wants to try out Maisen, their Tenderloin Katsu Set (80g, Php 370) and Loin Katsu (80g, Php 350) set pretty much looks the same as all the other Tonkatsu spots. If you put them side by side, you probably won’t know the difference save for Maisen’s iconic logo.
You pretty much know the drill here: free flowing rice, miso soup, salad, and fruits. You must have known it better than I do so it would be pointless to blog about the whole eating experience.
But I want to share this unique Maisen Special that I really enjoyed, something that I think should have been offered in restaurants ever since Masaharu Morimoto combined melon juice and crab zest to concoct a special Dashi broth in Iron Chef America.
Katsumabushi – P390
Behold, the Katsumabushi. And you can get it at Maisen for only P390 ~ a very good deal, if you ask me. Tenderloin Katsu lovers will love the unique experience of enjoying tonkatsu in three ways – complete with Onsen egg, Kombu Dashi broth or plain Katsudon.
How to Prepare Your Katsumabushi
1. Scoop the fluffy rice on your rice bowl
2. Top it with a bite size Tonkatsu and some seaweeds
3. Add sesame, spring onions and a dash of wasabi
4. Slowly pour the dashi broth but not completely submerge it.
It feels so refreshing after drinking the dashi broth. You can probably have the Katsumabushi experienced this way for four times. The onsen egg is good to enjoy as you swirl it with Tonkatsu offering a slight sweetness and soft-boiled texture to your meal. For Tonkatsu purists, simply dip in Amakuchi (sweet) or Karakuchi (spicy) sauce the way you are accustomed to.
After Katsumabushi, you’ll never look at Tonkatsu the same way again.
Maisen Philippines is part of the 50 Restaurants to Try in Metro Manila Before 2015 Ends.
Which among the Katsu places here in the metro is your favorite? Share your thoughts on Candid Cuisine!
Maisen Philippines Rating:
|Taste and Originality:||( 3.5 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||( 3.5 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||( 3.5 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||( 3 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.4 / 5)|