Tuesday, October 28, 2014

H&M - Now Open in the Philippines!

Hear ye, hear ye!  H&M is now open in the Philippines!  Hooray for them for finally recognizing the Philippine market, and hooray for us since we can finally shop without flying elsewhere!  Thank you, H&M!  

Last October 17, H&M finally opened their doors to the public. I wasn't able to attend the opening due to conflicting schedules (boo!), but I was finally able to step inside just this past weekend!  Here are a couple (ok, a LOT) of photos of what our local H&M looks like.  Scroll on to see :)  


What greets you at the entrance

Shoes on the first floor



More basics


Second Floor:


Active wear

View from the second floor

More shoes

And more accessories

Basics again

Loving the rightmost mannequin!  This is what I call layering at its best!

Third Floor

Little Boys' Section

More for the little boys

Little Girls' Section

For the not-so-little ones

Men's Section

Men's Accessories

Men's Casuals


Men's Basics

Men's Formal + a hot guy with a smoldering look.  Oh hello.  LOL!

So if you still haven't gotten yourself to see the first ever H&M store in our country, then I suggest that you troop over there, pronto!  Prices are reasonable, and stocks are aplenty.  Good for our sartorial future, but bad for our wallets!  LOL.  See you there!

H&M is at the UG/2F/3F, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. J. Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tokyo Eats: Fuunji

And finally, we've come to the last part of my Tokyo series.

Ah, Fuunji.  The first time I came across this name was when I read about it online.  Hailed as Tokyo's best tsukemen, I came to see (and taste!) for myself.  But first, what exactly is tsukemen?  Tsukemen is also known as "dipping noodles".  The noodles are served cold and separate from the broth.  Directions when eating?  Grab a few strands of noodles, dip it into the broth and chomp. chomp, chomp!  Repeat as desired.

Reading about the long lines from those who have already tried it, I was ready to brave Fuunji's line just to taste authentic tsukemen.  Never mind that the whole day was spent walking and I was dead exhausted.  I needed to try out Fuunji before we bid Tokyo goodbye.  Well, the tsukemen gods must be smiling upon me because when we got the Fuunji, there was no line at all!  That, and because we were early.  LOL.

Fuunji from outside
Fuunji's ticket dispenser
As with Ichiran, Fuunji's mode of ordertaking is with a machine.  I pressed on the ¥1000 tsukemen, got my ticket, had my seat and waited for my order to be served.

A view of the open kitchen



I've had tsukemen here in Manila, but Fuunji's version is something different.  The broth was thick, creamy and rich - which was great except that it was way to salty for me, even after I dipped the noodles with as little broth as possible.  Can't deny the fact that it's really flavorful though.  If only the salt levels were turned down, this would have been perfect.  Oh well.  3 out of 5 stars.

Fuunji is at 2 Chome-14 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tokyo Eats: The Gindaco

Takoyaki (according to Wikipedia) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan.  It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion.  Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise.  The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi).

Takoyaki also happens to be one of my favorite snacks of all time.  These little glorious balls have always had a special place in my (fat) heart ever since I tried the not-so-authentic-but-still-so-good Samurai takoyaki back when I was in still in kindergarten.  Since then, whenever I find myself in front of a takoyaki stand - be it in a school fair, a foodcourt or a restaurant, I just had to order one.

I had my first taste of The Gindaco takoyaki a few years back in Hong Kong when they still had a branch in front of Times Square, Causeway Bay.  Much to my dismay, they had already closed the following year when I went back.  So when I saw The Gindaco again after all these years, you can bet I'll find time to savor these yummy balls. 

Nomnomnom.  Not all takoyakis are made the same.  The Gindaco's version is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Plus points for huge octopus chunks that you can actually chew on.  The only thing I'm not too happy about is the fact that they also incorporated some ginger into the balls, and ginger is not my friend.  LOL.  Other than that, I'm a happy camper!  4 out of 5 stars!

The Gindaco is at 1 Chome-14-24 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tokyo Eats: Sushi Dai

When in Japan, one must eat sushi.  MUST.  And if you want real good sushi, then Tsukiji Fish Market is the way to go.  This is the place where the freshest sushi is available, coming from seafood that were caught just a few hours ago.  But fresh sushi comes with a price.  The night before, I made sure to do all my research regarding Tsukiji and discovered three things:  First, visitors are welcome to watch the auction happening daily, but you must be there before 3AM.  Second, the two best sushi places in Tsukiji Fish Market is Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi.  Rumor is that Sushi Dai is owned by the father and Daiwa Sushi is owned by the son, with them competing among themselves as to who can produce the best sushi from the freshest catch of the day.  And third, if you want to try either of the famed sushi places, then you must be there and in line before 5AM.  Come any later than that, and you'd risk falling in line for 3 hours.  WHAAAAATTT...??  So yes, we woke up at 4AM for this.  And since our hotel is quite near to Tsukiji, we decided to walk the 2kms towards the fish market.  

According to different sites, there is not much difference between Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi.  Both are equally superb.  But some claim Sushi Dai is better.  And since we only had one chance to try one sushi restaurant for this trip, we decided to go for Sushi Dai. 

The line outside Sushi Dai

We arrived at a little past 5AM (blame it on getting lost again) and was relieved to see that there were only about 15 people in front of us, not a hundred!  At 5:30AM, we were ushered in.  We were then asked if we wanted the day's special set.  We didn't know anything about their sets, so we just said yes!

Oh hello there, sushi master!
Ok confession:  I don't eat sushi.  Well, not the raw ones at least.  I do love my unagi (eel) and tamago (egg) though.  But that's about it.  So this Sushi Dai experience is really for Hubby, who is a sushi monster and will eat anything and everything sushi. 

And since I don't eat sushi, please forgive me if I was not able to take down what was served.  Seriously, the number of sushi that were plopped down in front of me was overwhelming!  I did, however, take photos of each and every piece served.  Hope that makes up for forgetting their names and what they are.  LOL.  Enjoy the food porn!

After every piece from our special set was served, the sushi chef asked us if we wanted anything else and handed us the menu.  Of course!  There was only one thing Hubby needed to complete his sushi experience, and that is the toro.  For those who are not familiar, toro is also known as the fatty tuna, or as Hubby describes it, "the wagyu of sushi". 

Toro (very fatty tuna)

So how was the experience?  Hubby loved it!  This is probably the best sushi place in the whole world (his words, not mine).  And judging from the long lines snaking towards the back when we got out, I'd have to say everyone agrees with him.  5 out of 5 stars!

Sushi Dai is at 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's Happening This Weekend. Sale news and more!

Ok.  Have to take another short break from my Tokyo posts because of this.  But trust me, it's well worth it.  I'm actually torn... frazzled really.  Because I can't seem to decide which one I'm supposed to go to.  Well, maybe I'll just go to all, since they're all crazily tempting!

First up, the Citibank-SSI sale.  If you've been to one of SSI's sales in the past, then you know it's worth it.  Can you imagine Bally, Tod's, Furla and other designer goods for up to 70% off?!

Second, Debenhams.  Sort though racks and racks of great merchandise on sale! 

And who could resist Manila Fame?  This bi-annual event is every design and art enthusiast's wet dream.

After yearssss of waiting, H&M has finally landed in our shores!  Let's give them a warm Manila welcome, shall we?  Bonus:  First one in line on opening day gets a whopping Php 6000 GC!  Succeeding ones (the next 200) get GCs ranging from Php 200 to Php 5000!   Plus, great discounts on opening day!

To coincide with the H&M opening, SM Megamall is having their 3-Day Sale.  If you're planning on going to H&M (and you should!), then this will be hitting two birds in one stone.

So what are you waiting for?  Plan your mode of attack and see you in one (or all) of these events! :)