WHEN people think of Japanese food, the first thing that come into their minds are most likely sushi, takoyaki, yakitori, tonkatsu or ramen. And more often than not, others find some of these well-known food quite pricey.
It has always been a dream of CEO Eric Santillan and his company to make Japanese food more accessible to Filipinos through giving more choices and making it reasonably priced.
As such, in 2016 Santillan, together with his sister Joan, established the Curry Curry Japanese Katsu Curry House in Cagayan de Oro City.
And recently, they opened another food business that serves carefully curated set of dishes that remind its customers of Japan but is actually proudly Bisaya.
KatsuDong, a play on the Japanese word Katsudon with a mix of the Bisaya word "Dong" (in short for "dodong," which means young man or boy), is the next evolution of the Santillan siblings' desire to make Japanese food accessible.
"We don't want people to be intimidated by the fact that it is Japanese or foreign because it is also actually very familiar," said Eric in an exclusive interview with SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
KatsuDong, located at The Hive in Limketkai, Cagayan de Oro City, offers a variety of food in their menu such as:
Pancit Yakisoba. A pancit dish with vegetables cooked in a wok served with chicken skin, crispy katsu and white sauce on top.
Pan de Soba. It's what they call a "pancit in sandwich format."
"The inspiration is street food in Japan where people who just came from a night of drinking would order yakisoba and put it inside hotdog buns to treat their morning after headaches," Eric said.
"KatsuDong's chef's version is a sandwich of pancit with egg and melted cheese: probably even better than the one you taste in Japan," he added.
Tocino BBQ Tori. A tocino on-a-stick with a sweet and tangy taste.
"It will remind you of hurried breakfasts when your mom did not have time to cook and just fried tocino and egg," Eric said.
The sauces to their marinades, according to him, are the many secret recipes of their chef, his sister Joan.
The aforementioned dishes are the fast-selling products of KatsuDong since its opening.
KatsuDong is a "fun brand," according to Eric, who described the said brand as the Curry Curry's "millennial younger brother" that's not afraid to go against the grain, uses technology and can cater to a younger to mid-aged crowd.
"KatsuDong is a fun brand because humor, as we all know, is a Bisaya heritage. We laugh at ourselves. We love to heckle. Kantiawero ta. So as a brand, we will be also be known for creative experimentation," Eric said.
"We will research on Bisaya flavors and give it their Japanese twist, or the other way around. We will try new food combinations here. Watch out for those experiments in the coming months," he added.