Try This: Hamaru’s Tofu Pocket Is an Upgrade from Your Favorite Tuna BowlJune 15, 2017
Hamaru means “to go crazy over something,” and that’s exactly what you’ll experience when you first bite into one of their delicious Japanese dishes at this hidden joint in Quezon City. The menu is designed by Chef Niño Laus, of Ninyo Fusion fame, who started his cooking career at the Japanese restaurant of the Century Park Sheraton Hotel, then moved onto Kai in Greenbelt, until he started up Ninyo Fusion offering Japanese-French fusion. “That’s my first love, actually. It’s Japanese,” he exclaims, as he explains his excitement over the Hamaru menu.
Chef Niño tells us that the dishes are simple but creative, deeply rooted in Japanese flavors but modern, quick-to-prepare but satisfying. They wanted to be playful with the items on their menu while still keeping the service fast since it is, after all, located inside a food park. With its laid-back, young and urban feel to it, the izakaya invites neighborhood locals to relax and escape to where they can find innovative yet comforting cuisine a short distance from their own homes.
As an izakaya, Hamaru specializes in grilled skewers and Japanese drinks, but don’t be fooled into thinking that these are the only things worth ordering. While you will not be disappointed with their ultra-fresh ebi, their hearty beef intestine, or the rich butabara (pork belly), we encourage you to stray from the beaten path and try our Hamaru favorites.
Our outstanding favorite at Hamaru, the tofu pocket is deceptively simple and expertly executed. Made of fine, fresh ingredients that dance in our mouths, the Tofu Pocket is (as its name suggests) a pocket made of fried tofu, filled with seasoned diced tuna and fermented pako that sits on top of a bed of delightfully crunchy rice crisps. Think of it as a more enduring version of the trendy poke bowl.
Called sakura (which refers to cherry blossoms) for the dishes resemblance to flowers (after all, it is chicharon bulaklak), the Black Sakura is a Filipino pulutan favorite elevated through marination in squid ink and flavored with a salty uni-oyster sauce. If you’re coming to Hamaru to enjoy their curated selection of Japanese beers, whiskys and sakes, this is the dish you want in the middle of the table.
Hamaru is a Japanese Izakaya (hidden inside a food park) that is best known for its skewers and bar.