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Discover the art of sumo eating in Sekitori

2 weeks ago

Discover the art of sumo eating in Sekitori

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Atama ga masshiro. Ms. Vera, our translator, explained that this phrase can mean two things: in the literal sense, it means a head full of white hair; in its figurative context, it is an expression that means one cannot think anymore. After our meal, it was definitely the latter for us—with our heads in a daze of pleasure and our bellies full of satisfaction. Sekitori has won our approval for serving an unforgettable Japanese meal fit for a yokozuna (a champion sumo wrestler).

To those unfamiliar, a sekitori is a sumo wrestler rank, where the rashiki’s (sumo wrestler) main ambition is to achieve perfection in his craft. Seto Masakazu is the president and owner of Sekitori, and a former student of the art of sumo wrestling. With his tall frame and huge build, he was forced by his family to continue the honor of becoming a sumo wrestler like his uncle who achieved the status of yokozuna. But destiny had other plans for him. After many challenges on and off the sumo circular ring, Seto-san eventually found his success as an entrepreneur and restaurant owner in the Philippines.

Together with Kamimoto Keita, Sekitori’s executive chef, who has three decades of experience in Japanese cooking under his belt, they ventured to open their second Sekitori branch along San Miguel Avenue (the first one is in Little Tokyo, Makati). The Ortigas branch stands out with its fusion dishes created by the Chef Kamimoto and Deputy Chef Ume (who specializes in Kyoto-style cuisine) using traditional Japanese cooking methods. These specialty dishes are made with seasonal ingredients Seto-san himself sources every month when he makes his monthly trips to Japan.

Did you know that a sumo wrestler must eat at least 12,000 calories per meal? Good thing we’re not training for the sport! Luckily for us, a meal at Sekitori can give us a taste of what champion sumo wrestlers enjoy eating!sekitori 1

You can tell if a Japanese restaurant is good by the quality and grade of sashimi they’re offering—and Sekitori’s Syunsai Sashumori Komusubi or assorted fresh sashimi will certainly excite you. Thick, succulent slices of seasonal fish and seafood like salmon, tuna, uni (sea urchin) mackerel, white fish, and ika (squid) adorn a large platter, looking almost too pretty to eat. The Irodori Sakizuke 5-syumori or 5-piece appetizer set is another appetizer sampler with a combination of five dishes in small portions albeit elaborately styled that showcases the cooking skills of the Japanese chef. If you’re craving for a creative sushi roll, order the Special California Maki. This monster maki is a feast in itself with eight huge rice rolls packed with slices of mangoes, ripe avocado, cucumbers, crab sticks then alternately topped with salmon roe and caviar. More flavor and texture are mixed in with the addition of sliced vegetables and special sushi sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. For salmon lovers, the Salmon Nanban Teriyaki-fu is a splendid treat. Thick slices of salmon fillet are seasoned with teriyaki sauce then deep-fried to a crisp. These are then served with potato salad and decked with seasonal vegetables plus dollops of tangy tartar sauce on the side.

For those who want to order a light entrée, try the Karasu Karei no Saikyou Yaki. Japanese flounder is marinated in a mixture of miso paste and other Japanese seasonings then grilled until it’s perfectly cooked. It’s best to eat this with fresh steaming Japanese rice which highlights the dish’s delicate flavor. One of the dishes Sekitori is proud to offer is its Yasai no Kyo-fu Taki Awase or assorted seasonal vegetables. This Kyoto-style dish is meticulously prepared by boiling each ingredient separately to maximize the flavors of each component. Even the carving and plating is carefully planned, intended to be enjoyed not just through taste but visually as well. End your meals with wagashi or small Japanese sweets made from adzuki bean paste. Sekitori makes the wagashi flavors depending on the season.

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The next time you’re craving authentic Japanese food, look for the restaurant with the impressive sumo wrestler figure in its show window. With its menu and impeccable service, Sekitori is out to impress. As far as Japanese restaurants go, we might as well have met our match.

Sekitori. GF, Hanston Square Building, 17 San Miguel Ave., Pasig City


Words by Angeli de Rivera
Photographed by Ron Mendoza of Studio 100

 

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