Ohayo Banawe: Japanese Comfort Food

Ohayo Banawe

What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Japanese comfort food?” Is it noodles, maki, or yakitori? Whatever it is, you might find them in Ohayo Banawe. Located at Banawe Avenue, St. Peter Street, this restaurant serves good food at an affordable price. 

We missed catching the Ohayo Banawe grand opening on August 14 but were glad that the resto was not packed when we tried it out. Or at least one table was empty when we went there a week ago. 

Ohayo meaning

Ohayo (or ohayou) is a Japanese term that means “morning.” However, you can also hear locals say it in the afternoon and evening. Ohayo is an informal term for saying “Ohayou Gozaimasu,” meaning “good morning.” 

Coming from the Japanese adjective “hayai,” ohayo means “early.” You add “gozaimasu” to add politeness to the statement, and you get a meaning that translates as “It is early.” When you see someone for the first time in a day, you can also say ohayo, as a greeting. 

Japanese comfort food

We found that there were very limited choices on the Ohayo Banawe menu. When we were checking out their list, we had to choose what our toddler would like to eat. We decided to order chicken karaage don for our little one. Then we also added 6 pcs Ebi tempura, tofu steak, Kani mango salad, and salmon torch maki. 

The tofu steak arrived first, and we were surprised it was cold. But then after checking the menu, the tofu steak falls under the cold appetizers. So that explains why it was not hot and not placed on a sizzling plate. 

We were not disappointed with their tofu steak as it had an extra ingredient compared to other tofu steaks we had tasted. The bowl also had crunchy round things that tasted somewhat like tempura breading. The crunchiness complimented their soft tofu topped with the typical tofu steak sauce.

Next came the Kani mango salad with a generous serving of Kani and mango. Kani means imitation crab, which most Japanese restaurants use in their sushi. Fun fact: Kani does not contain real crab meat but ground meat of white fish. 

They served salmon torch maki and Ebi tempura next. I was not disappointed in the salmon torch maki as it did not contain a lot of rice. We are not a fan of rice (we prefer a low-carb diet), so we would prefer lots of protein in our food. 

We were skeptical about ordering their Ebi tempura because other restos serve tiny shrimp coated in tempura breading. But lo and behold, when I ate the tempura, the shrimp was not small but had the right size and taste.

I said that the taste of tempura was good because when other local restos use freshwater shrimp, it had a bland taste. At Ohayo Banawe, you get to eat “authentic tempura” you could enjoy with its dipping sauce.

When the chicken karaage don arrived, my son immediately jumped with joy. He finished almost half of the bowl, which showed he liked the food. The Japanese rice served alongside the karaage was not too much, just enough for us.

The crunchy outer coat of the chicken karaage is covered with just the right amount of teriyaki sauce. And the sweet and tangy flavor of the chicken blends perfectly with the runny egg yolk and soft steamy rice. (We did not let our toddler eat the raw egg as he is still too young.)

Just a note to rice lovers: you might want to order an extra bowl of rice to eat with your chicken for your enjoyment. Ohayo Banawe serves an ample amount of chicken karaage that would surely make you feel full.

Overall, we were satisfied with the quick dinner we had at Ohayo Banawe. We would surely go back next time to try out their other dishes. We just hope that they would add more menu so they could cater to other people’s wants. If you are just around Banawe, make sure to try them out! 

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