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Around Town: Banzai: The Great Authentic Japanese BuffetCelebrate rich flavors and experience authentic Japanese culture at this new buffet restaurant in Pasay.
For centuries, Japanese cuisine has always been one of the most celebrated and revered in the world not just because of the wealth of flavors it offers with each bite, but also largely due to the art and painstaking discipline that accompanies the preparation of each dish.
In the Philippines, there is a wellspring when it comes to the number of Japanese restaurants, yet only a few can proudly claim that they serve authentic Japanese cuisine.
Just a few weeks ago, Banzai: The Great Authentic Japanese Buffet was opened in Pasay City, introducing itself as the only authentic Japanese buffet in the country. It is the world’s largest teppanyaki restaurant, with 1,200 square meters of floor area.
“It’s not just about the food, it’s about the whole experience,” says Sheryl Laudico, one of the owners of Banzai, “that’s why from the interiors, we made sure to integrate authentic Japanese items and places. All the lanterns here [were] brought in from Tokyo. All the paintings, masks, we hand-carried them.”
In fact, from outside the restaurant, one will already feel as if they are transported to the land of the rising sun. Large letters perched atop the building make for an attention-grabbing façade, flanked by what is recognizably a traditional Japanese mask.
Inside, Japanese lanterns adorn the ceiling and food stations, while Japanese masks add a quirky feel. A section of Banzai features a wall decorated entirely with neon signs a la Dotonbori, a chief tourist destination in Osaka.
Of course, a buffet restaurant could not claim to be so if it did not serve an overflowing variety of flavorful food. But with Banzai, there is not only abundance; there is also authenticity.
“All ingredients are authentic Japanese ingredients,” says Sheryl. “Ours are all imported from Japan. And we [also] have three Japanese chefs, [who] apply real Japanese techniques in our cooking.”
These three chefs are Executive Chef Hiroshi, Chef Iwa, and Chef Masuda. “Chef Hiroshi’s specialty is sushi,” explains corporate chef Nikki Nicolas. “Sushi chefs have a certain way of cutting, and they have a [special] knife for sashimi. It’s really an art. When they’re working, it’s really like [an] art. There’s a process.”
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