Feast under the cherry tree-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
BENEATH the tree in bloom is a treat of sumptuous palate experience. Or so does a belief go.
A widely held notion is that the Japanese usually enjoy eating and drinking while under the vibrant stretch of a Cherry blossom tree (the Japanese word for cherry blossom trees is sakura or “Japanese flowering cherry”).
Not only does it provide romantic concealment under a starry night sky but it is also an appetite inspiring haven as well. Taking cue from that, a dining place in Maribago, more specifically in Shangs Island Town Center, offers similar sensation and more for the thrill of one’s taste buds. Apparently, Yozakura has more to it than being just another Japanese restaurant.
“We wanted to stress that it is a sushi bar,” shares owner Jack Chiu. If only to highlight its distinguishing quality, Chiu goes on to say that “we specialize in sushi.” It goes without saying that a wide selection of sushi is at every guest’s hungry disposal.
Upon entrance to this ambient place, one will inevitably feel transported to a surreal night setting where tasty dining is situated under a seemingly real spread of sakuras.
The whole interior is actually a visual explanation of the restaurant’s name, which
literally means “night and cherry blossoms.”
The delectable series of sushi available is front-lined by unagi, topped with sweet marinated eel; tamago, with egg; tako, with octopus; maguro, with tuna; ika, with squid; sake, with salmon; hamachi, with yellowtail fish; ebi, with shrimp and Kani, with crab meat.
The medley of maki is led by Canadian roll, with crab meat, cucumber, cream cheese and salmon; tekka, with tuna; kappa, with sesame seed and cucumber; takuan, with radish pickles; mango California maki, with mango, cucumber, crab meat and mayonnaise; and Banzai roll, with tempura scum, cucumber, crab meat and cream cheese, drenched in teriyaki sauce.
Also, there is an enticing set of sashimi that is commanded by maguro, salmon, hamachi and sushi gari, which is ginger marinated.
Although specializing in sushi, Yozakura extends an array of deliciously warm dishes.
First off, there is the miso ramen, which is made of ramen noodles, wakami (seaweeds), egg, ground pork, bean sprouts, sweet corn and sprinkle of spring onions.
More tasty plates include buta kakuni made of sweet boiled pork, which resembles a local dish that is humba; yakitori, skewered grilled chicken meat drenched with teriyaki sauce; ebi sumen maki age, winding fried noodle shrimp; gyoza, beef dumpling in sizzling plate; buta roll okonomiyaki, pork pancake roll made of beni shoga (a kind of pickle), coleslaw (and a secret ingredient).
Even though Yozakura is the owner’s first attempt at food business, the sushi bar has been faring fairly well ever since it opened its doors to the public on Jan. 3.
Initially, Chiu has been into merchandising as he owns a manufacturing company called Tai-1 that produces caps, bags and shirts.
And though it has already attracted a promising number of Japanese and Korean fans, Yozakura is set to improving its products and services. As Chiu says, “We always keep training our chefs to get the real, original taste of Japanese and Korean dishes.”
Chiu has stayed in Cebu for 12 years already. Though once or twice a month he goes back to his homeland that is Taiwan, he spends “90 percent of a year in Cebu.” Not only is his affection for the Philippines evident through his effort to speak the Cebuano language but through his own words: “I feel I’m half-Filipino, even more than half.”
That explains a lot for his passion to offer Cebu only the finest dishes he can. More than anything else, he wants not only foreigners but Cebuanos as well to feel how it is to enjoy a feast under the splendor of Cherry blossoms.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2013.