AS THE cold weather draws upon us, hot soups are definitely a must-eat at night. So, while we were waiting for Karen, the birthday girl to arrive, my friends and I decided to have some ramen and rushed in to Kaizen to dig in on seafood and shoyu ramen.

We got there and the owner, Miss Chang Zapanta, who's ever hospitable to her customers offered to prepare some barley tea for all of us when she learned I was feeling sick. I just responded with a joke and told her, "sayang naman, gagaling na ako. Hindi na ako makaka-file ng sick leave" then laughter broke out the scene. But really, I am thankful for the thought. They are indeed, more than just a restaurant. True to their newly-launched series of specifically made rolls inspired by the Ike Pono workshop.

Collectively called as the Ohana Platter, the rolls symbolize the values taught and treasured in Ike Pono.

"Through the Ohana Platter, we share Ike Pono with you and the Ohana Platter as the name suggests is a way for families to bond together, sharing a good meal," Miss Chang explained.

The rolls were created by her husband Chef Dana Zapanta in collaboration with the kitchen team of Kaizen Davao, the Ohana Platter consists of:

Aloha Roll, made up of tuna salmon, cream cheese, avocado unagi sauce, mango sauce, ebiko, and green onions. Aloha in Hawaii aside from its customary greeting also implies a deeper meaning. It means being connected to acknowledge the person's being and spirit. (10 to 12 pieces at P399)

Commitment Roll consists of cream cheese, spicy tuna, cucumber, sliced tuna, unagi sauce, kaizen sauce, ebiko, green onions, tempura flakes. In Ike Pono, commitment is a precious life value of committing oneself going through it all, whatever it takes. (8 pieces at P299)

Essence Roll, is made up of shredded salmon skin, cucumber, cream cheese, teriyaki sauce, furikake, black and white sesame seeds, green onions. In Ike Pono, essence is finding our core, which is all good. (8 pieces at P179)

Vision Roll is a mouthwatering combination of nori, crab stick, cream cheese, unagi sauce, kaizen sauce, black and brown sesame seeds and green onions. In Ike Pono, the clarity of vision comes from knowing the certainty of oneself without the externals. (8 pieces at P322)