I looooove Japanese cuisine, though I haven’t been to Japan yet (omg, I just realized I have to go there soon). But I know I’m having an authentic Japanese dish when Japanese friends invite me to a Japanese restaurant. I’m not sure about you, but I noticed Japanese people are a bit picky on what they eat and are very sensitive on different spices we commonly use for our Pinoy meals. So I am really a fan of those who can pull off a full-menu fusion of not just dishes but flavors from different cuisines and cultural taste.
Most of the good (and even best) Japanese restaurants in the Philippines are those that we can find along other elite food houses in big commercial spaces. But just recently, I discovered this carinderia along Gen. Lacuna St., Bangkal, Makati City. All thanks to J for introducing this carinderia to me, now it’s one of my favorites!
Kaito Japanese Carinderia is rated with 3.9 stars on Zomato as of writing. And I think they deserve more. Though they are not your usual Japanese restaurant, and though they don’t serve super authentic Japanese dishes, Kaito will surely satisfy your Japanese food cravings.
Okay, let’s set your expectations right. Kaito is a carinderia – a small food house, or stall, with small seating capacity. It is located right beside the street with more or less 25 seats including their sushi bar. You can park your car across the street (if there is some space left lol) grab a queuing number (because from 6 or 7pm people are starting to come over) and wait for your turn to have a table and enjoy your orders.
Since the queue is often long and they have a very limited staff, please be considerate if they take long serving your dishes. Based on experience (because I’ve been there for x number of times already and will still be going there in the future), we’ve waited for like an hour max. BUT I’D STILL RECOMMEND IT BECAUSE IT”S WORRRRTH THE WAIT!
Here are few of my favorites:
I super loooove their maki, I think I can eat one big order on one sitting alone. Two of my faves are the California Maki and our newly-discovered Tamago Dynamite Maki.
The California Maki might be the most common maki and easy to prepare among all makis in every Japanese menu. I used to hate makis (and sushis) and everything Japanese. What made me fall in love with Japanese food is a California Maki from this well-known restaurant, and I loved all makis from everywhere since then.
Those are just my appetizers (and usually side dishes) but my go-to meal is actually their Donburi dishes. In Japanese, “rice bowl dish”. Donburi dishes consists either fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together and served over rice. So guess why I love donburis? MEAT. OVER. RICE. Two of my favorite ingredients.
In every Japanese restaurant, I order Gyudon as my standard meal. From this dish, I could tell if I’m going back to that restaurant to try other meal OR just walk away and forget the past (lol).
I love (any) Japanese dish more when seasoned with togarashi powder. Shichimi Togarashi is a spicy powdered assortment of dried chil peppers and other seasonings. Ingredients include red chili pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed. Add this flavorful seasoning to your noodle soup dishes or any other dish that needs an extra spice.*
And who doesn’t love a bento meal? If I’m super hungry (which is always) I’d like to order myself a bento meal – a Japanese-style packed meal, with rice, meat/chicken/fish, vegetables, complete with side dishes. It’s like your “super” and “overloaded” meals in fast food, except it’s yummier and it’s Japanese food. Lol.
Kaito Japanese Carinderia is located at Apolinario Corner Gen. Lacuna Street, Bangkal, Makati City. They are open to serve everyday at 5pm to 12mn.
For more updates follow them on Facebook, Kaito Japanese Carinderia. Or view their updated menu on Zomato: