There are moments in life when you just want to have that MEAT fix. You want to consume copious amounts of tender, tasty, and soulful meat. The grease and the sauce dribbling down your chin as you reach for another bowl of rice. For me, that day was today.
In an early age, I have already loved Japanese Yakiniku, and the craving comes every now and then. I usually go to Urameshi-ya in Little Tokyo for my yakiniku craving but the line has been horrible the last few times I went, I can’t fathom waiting for 2 hours just to eat for 30 minutes. Luckily, we now have Tajimaya(originally from Chiba, Japan) in Alabang Town Center. To be honest, even if I grew up in the area it was a bit difficult to find. Now, don’t be fooled, it’s there, but it can be a challenge to find to someone in unfamiliar.
So what is Yakiniku?
The term Yakiniku means “grilled meats” in Japan. In every sense, it is cooking associated to grilling meat equivalent to the western barbecue. Some kinds of meat are enjoyed with the “tare” or dipping sauce.
How to find Tajimaya:
Go to the courtyard in Alabang Town Center where Coffee Bean Tea Leaf is, then head up to the second floor and head over to Gerry’s Grill(corner restaurant), once there enter the corridor heading towards the next wing, you’ll find Tajimaya in the end of the row.
As I find myself in front of the restaurant, I can’t help but feel this burning hunger inside of me, for that piece of meat.
Their EAT ALL YOU CAN PROMO comes with UNLIMITED Beef, Pork, Squid, Special Sausage, Squidroll, Shrimp, Salad, Sangyu, kimchi, Namuru, and white rice. There’s also bottomless ice tea but better to skip this to make more room for the beef.
Now that we’ve ordered the only thing left to do is to make the “tare” or dipping sauce. I love yakiniku and for me the best sauce has a generous portion of minced garlic and a dollop of spicy paste, then pour in your yakiniku sauce mix and adjust according to taste.
Here comes the beef. The thin slices of beef and pork are of excellent quality. Everything was fresh from the seafood to the meat.
I love the fact that they use a charcoal grill as oppose to a gas grill. You can never go wrong with that chargrilled taste that creates this rich, complex, sweet and savory compounds on the surface of the seared meat. My favorite thing to do is when the meat is at medium, I place it on the dipping sauce and put it back on the grill creating that layer of crust that seal the flavor of the meat.
When having Yakiniku, it’s best to cook the pieces of meat, one at a time, so that you always have them newly cooked. The feeling of anticipation building up, with every bite. The savory, searing of the meat that caramelizes the edges sealed with the dipping sauce. This kind of craving deeply seated within all of us on a cellular level only satiated by the kind of quality meat and precise sear that each of us secretly desires.
One thing that I like to do is when you place your newly cooked piece of meat on a bed of piping hot rice and the crust and juices of the meat are transferred into the rice, for an even tastier flavor. This got me eating 2 bowls of rice.
Insider tip: Skip the squid roll, pork, and sausage. Order the beef, chicken, shrimp, and squid.
One of the things that I found notable in Tajimaya was their excellent exhaust system, you don’t smell like charred meat, mixed with sweat when you go out as compared to the other barbecue places.
This underrated yakiniku restaurant is sure to satisfy your inner meat cravings. Everything was fresh and was of good quality. The service was also very good, they are very friendly and attentive to their customers. As of now, there are not a lot of people flocking towards this hidden yakiniku spot.
Veranda, SM Mall Of Asia, Main Mall, Bay Rd., Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
One Rockwell, Rockwell DrRockwell Center, Makati
Upper Ground Floor, AlabangTown Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City