For Japanese food lovers, Osaka Ohsho would probably be a mini paradise. This is where you get a taste of different sorts of gyozas and dishes that guarantee a highly satisfying meal. It dares to cross the boundary from the usual ramen place that’s quite rampant now in the city to one that’s serving another Japanese food specialty: the gyoza. Other than the Philippines, “King of Gyoza” Osaka Ohsho has branches in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Korea.
In my recent visit to its branch in SM Megamall Fashion Hall, I had stood witness on how the gyozas were made by hand from scratch. For less than a minute there, I thought that if anyone would like to explore the depth and complexity of preparing “The World’s Number One Gyoza,” then definitely watching behind Osaka Ohsho’s open kitchen won’t be anything less than ideal.
It’s also wonderful how Osaka Ohsho consistently surprises and pleases customers as they keep coming up with creative and innovative kinds of gyoza. What are the brand new gyoza flavors launched this season? Let’s find out! 😉
Review of Osaka Ohsho Philippines (SM Megamall, Mandaluyong)
We chose to come in for late lunch on a Saturday, yet surprisingly, the place was still packed both inside and outside. That said, do expect some buzz and noise throughout. Despite that, Osaka Ohsho in SM Megamall has a comforting aura that makes me want to return after the first visit.
We were fortunate to get a good seating in one of those circular chairs with chic old newspaper pattern against the wall. Lightly decorated with Japanese-inspired features, this restaurant is appropriate for the modern casual-dining environment.
The minute we stepped into Osaka Ohsho, we were greeted with or get startled by a chorus of “irrashaimase.” Japanese hospitality was conveyed. The customer service was good as the service crew was attentive and provided good advice in helping diners get the best value from their food. There is no doubt that the Osaka Ohsho pays top attention to the source and quality of ingredients and team in the kitchen is effective and efficient in preparing great dishes.
Osaka Ohsho serves three traditional kinds of gyoza: Original (P175/6pcs., P350/12pcs.), Cheese (P190/6pcs., P380/12 pcs.) and Nori (P190/6pcs., P380/12 pcs.). Now, infusing some twist, the new flavors, namely the Bacon and Cheese (P190/6pcs., P380/12 pcs.) and the Peanut Butter & Banana (P190/6pcs., P380/12 pcs.), are added to the menu. The new gyoza flavors are available only for a limited time for everyone’s dining pleasure.
Honestly, I could not tell the difference among the tastes of the original, cheese and nori apart from one another. It might be that I dipped too much miso sauce with chili oil—or that I was much overwhelmed by the superb taste of the Bacon and Cheese gyoza that I forgot how the classic ones fared. 😛
In any case, I’m sure that all the gyozas tasted great! With one side crispy, golden brown and slightly burnt and another side with a soft skin, Osaka Ohsho’s gyozas were made with a mouthful of tender juicy minced meat fillings which had a mix of textures. The wrapper was sturdy and moderately thick, never doughy. It was tender with a bit of elastic chew and a translucency that barely reveals the stuffing inside.
As a dessert, the Peanut Butter & Banana Gyoza is a perfect nibble for both adults and kids alike. This gyoza does not contain meat. Rather, for a good hot and cold contrast, it’s filled with Jif crunchy peanut butter and paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And no, there’s no polite way to eat it. We had no more shame in scraping the peanut butter and ice cream delight off the bowl after demolishing the gyoza. Yummy!
Moving on, we also tried the Special Fuwatoro Tenshin Han Curry Cheese Tonkatsu (PhP 460). It’s a Fuwatoro Tenshin Han dish surrounded by a flavorful Japanese curry sauce and topped with crispy fried pork tonkatsu stuffed with melted cheese. The curry sauce surrounding the super fluffy egg omelet wrapped around rice was rich and delicious. Even without the star of the dish which is supposedly the tonkatsu, I think I’ll be completely pleased with the egg, curry sauce and Japanese rice with sesame seeds. The combination is that good.
Another premium rice dish we had was the Fuwatoro Tenshin Han Ebi Tempura (PhP 395). It’s composed of steamed Japanese Koshihikari rice also enveloped in a soft, airy egg omelet dome immersed in a light Japanese gravy and topped with crispy fried Japanese ebi tempura. Let it sit for a moment before diving in, as the flavorful sauce will soak deliciously down into the rice below.
Not so fond of either tonkatsu or ebi tempura? You can opt for the Fuwatoro Tenshin Han Chicken Karaage (PhP 395) or Fuwatoro Tenshin Han Mabo Tofu (PhP 380) instead. These are available as set meals good for two people to share, with six pieces of gyoza, miso soup and fruit plates.
The Osaka Ohsho Salad (PhP 195 for half/ PhP 330 for full) looked lively with fresh Romaine lettuce, Lolo Rosa, and Iceberg lettuce mixed with cherry tomatoes, sweet ripe mangoes, grilled crabsticks, and crispy candied walnuts. The aroma which permeated each bite was Osaka Ohsho’s signature honey citrus miso dressing. Quite unique.
Next, the Black Vinegar Chicken (PhP 325) turned out to be a stir-fried hodgepodge of fully marinated chicken, bell peppers and chunks of pineapples in a gloppy sweet soy-based sauce. The real deal packed a flavorful punch. It was savory balanced with a touch of sweetness and a splash of dark vinegar for a fragrant acidity. If you’re looking for something light though, this is not for you. I found that I needed rice to balance the strong flavor somehow.
The bowl of Beef Sukiyaki (PhP 380) was anchored with thinly-sliced beef, onions, noodles and surrounded by vegetables and some mushrooms. The soup’s broth was slightly sweet, light and delicious. Everything was incredibly good and nothing was out of place, seeming like a stroke of genius. On a rainy day, I would like to come back to Osaka Ohsho and order this particularly for lunch or dinner.
We also enjoyed the Yakisoba (PhP 348), which was presented with an assortment of veggies on top. The glass noodles were hearty and a little chewy. It was far from the instant noodle-yakisoba from groceries I’m more familiar with. You can expect a shot of freshly cooked noodles sans the weird-tasting teriyaki sauce and spice.
Under Yakimono (Grilled) items, the Saba Shio Yaki (Roasted Mackerel) (PhP 310) is exactly the kind of fish you must order in Osaka Ohsho. It might seem simple, but getting that oily, salty fish skin to a perfectly crisp char is an art. The grilled salt-seasoned mackerel was served with finely grated daikon (I think).
For my drink, I ordered the Fresh Mango Yakult (PhP 125) which was contained in a “gigantic” mug. It’s too sweet for me and the mango flavor overpowered the taste of Yakult. I didn’t like it very much, but I thought it’s okay as a thirst-quencher on a hot summer day.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
For a restaurant that takes pride in serving the number one gyoza in the world, prices on the menu seem reasonable. You don’t need to spend a fortune at Osaka Ohsho for a few delicate bites of their food. The place gets crowded even in non-peak dining hours, so it’s wise to make a reservation. 😀