Flavors from the East and West

Monica R. Lopez

NO MATTER how the weather turns out—ridiculously hot or comfortably cool—there’s no excuse for not having that bowl of ramen. People like it for different reasons: It’s flavorful, earthy and warm. It’s comfort food in a bowl.

Giving Cebu a taste of its unique variety of ramen is the newly opened restaurant Menya Hachi. This restaurant serves as an ode to the marriage of Japanese and Hawaiian flavors. It uses Katamen noodles originating from the Hakata province of Japan. The ramen broth is cooked for more than 18 hours.

Its dishes are prepared by Chef Masaaki Kawamoto who has over 25 years of experience in creating Japanese dishes. Chef Masaaki—according to one of the co-owners, Robert Tambis—flew to Cebu and fell in love with the city. A native from Hawaii with Japanese roots, the chef assures diners of that authentic culinary experience.

Menya Hachi’s ramen choices include the cheese bari kote ramen, made with black garlic oil and garlic butter with a handful of cheese; oxtail ramen, its oxtail meat simmered for six hours and served with shiitake mushrooms, bok choi and green onions; and shoyu tonkotsu, made with mackerel, dried niboshi and other flavors that pack a punch.

“I’d like them to feel like they’re eating part of the Hawaiian and Japanese culture like as if they went to Hawaii. There’s more to our restaurant than ramen,” said Tambis.

Pair your choice of ramen with its selection of Hawaiian dishes: Check out its version of Karaage chicken called Mochiko chicken; Spam musubi, which is a snack made with Spam and rice wrapped in nori; the Hawaiian-style burger steak called Loco Moco, served with Japanese white rice; and Teppanyaki beef. Other dishes to look forward to are its temaki sushi, also known as sushi cones; poke bowls and pork curry.

Menya Hachi is located at the Corte of AyalaMalls Central Bloc and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.