What happened to “Takenotsuka” after the COVID-19 crisis⁉ Undercover interview on “Little Manila” today [Daytime Edition
During GW when the yen is weak, enjoy “cross-cultural exchange” in a nearby place!
Takenotsuka is known as a nightlife district called “Little Manila” with a forest of Filipino pubs in front of the station. However, there are rumors that the number of pubs has drastically decreased due to the COVID-19 crisis…. I wonder how Filipino mothers are doing (though I don’t know any of them). And what about the Filipino restaurants that used to be in the area? I couldn’t visit them when I lived in Tokyo and moved away, so I made a long trip from Osaka.
I got off at Takenotsuka station for the first time in years! What’s with all the modernization! I was suddenly greeted with a rude accusation. The station was renovated in 2010, wasn’t it? It’s so clean, it’s kind of sad.
At any rate, I went to a crowded area of Filipino pubs at the east exit of the station and found that the signboard is still there! It must be feverish at night when the neon lights are turned on. I was relieved to see that it was still alive.
Eating up a storm at “New Hungry,” a Filipino food buffet
First, we went to our first destination, New Hungry. It is located in a maniacal place behind Adachi-ku Biological Garden. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there, so I took a short cut by getting off the bus bound for Hanabatake Danchi from the east exit of Takenotsuka Station at “Hokima Naka Dori Street.
This place is usually open as a snack bar, pub, or restaurant, but they have a buffet only on Saturdays and Sundays. It was around 1:00 p.m. when I arrived, and I was worried if the food had already been taken away and there were only remnants, but there were zero customers. But there were no customers…even on a Saturday.
The restaurant’s colorful interior and Filipino ingredients for sale made it a truly tropical eatery. The restaurant is run by a single mom, and four kinds of dishes are standing by in front of the counter. When I asked if I could take pictures, she opened the lid on all of them. How kind!
First, let’s try the sinigang. Pork belly is stewed with the whole cartilage, and you can eat it down to the bone. The owner of the restaurant said, “I buy the whole pork and simmer it for 3 hours! I buy the whole pork chunks and simmer them for 3 hours! Vegetables are spinach and okra. The vegetables include spinach, okra, and rice water, which gives the dish a thick consistency.
The potatoes in the caldereta are flaky and sweet. Mama says she can only cook with potatoes and onions grown in Hokkaido. She is quite a stoic cook. She uses 3 kg of onions for every 5 kg of meat, and stir-fries them until they become thick and tender. He also blends three kinds of soy sauce. He says he needs a rich Filipino soy sauce to achieve the ideal taste.
Pancit is also soy-sauce flavored, and feels similar to Chinese food. The salami also has a sweet and spicy flavor, similar to Chinese sausage. Sometimes there are thick noodles in it. I thought it was like mixing udon noodles in a buckwheat noodle restaurant, but it is a mixture of “canton” noodles of Chinese origin. Why they only put a few noodles in is a mystery, but I guess Mama has her own specialties.
Is this a side dish? Not condiments?” The paste-like line that makes you want to say, “Is this a side dish?” is delicious, with the exotic aroma of coconut milk and a slight spiciness! I am happy to see that it contains pork as well as leaves. When I tell them it’s spicy, they say, “Hot pepper!” I said, “It’s spicy! Filipino cuisine does not have anything spicy, but this is the only spicy dish they make.
All of the dishes are strongly seasoned, so they seem to go well with rice or even beer. When I asked if they had any alcohol, they replied, “We have tequila! Wahaha!” He laughed at me for some reason.
I don’t really care, but they were showing some kind of grotesque sci-fi movie on the big screen TV in the restaurant, and I wondered how it would be like to watch a splatter movie while eating pork cartilage cut into pieces, but the indifference made it seem foreign and fun.
Mama Raza, who seems to want to live without worrying about being seen.
When I told her that the food was delicious, she smiled and said, “Good! Mama’s name is Raza Richita Tesiona, who came to Japan about 30 years ago to attend Japanese language school, and has since worked in real estate and nursing care. An acquaintance who originally ran the store here asked her to take over, and 13 years ago she passed the baton. He says bitterly, “I hated it at first,” but he has been good at cooking since he was a child, and it must be his calling because he handles it so professionally.
I was about to break off the conversation, so I suddenly told him, “I’m from Osaka,” to which he replied, “Oh, what are you talking about? What are you doing here? I’ve been to Universal Studios twice! I’ve been to Universal Studios twice!
When I boasted with a bit of gusto that Osaka was an easy place to live and that, unlike Tokyo, no one would say anything no matter how strange I dressed or acted, he replied, somewhat seriously, “Oh, I want to live here. I wonder if the rent is cheap. I wonder if he really wants to live without worrying about what other people think.
But if all-you-can-eat dishes that took this much effort were priced at 1,600 yen, they would be all the rage in Osaka, too. I left New Hungry with a serious recommendation to relocate to Osaka.
Kabayan Resto Bar & Pub” with a Filipino supermarket
Next, we went to “Kabayan Resto Bar & Pub” in front of the station. However, I couldn’t find the place on Google Maps, and wondered if it had gone out of business in the past few days. I was impatient, but then I saw a discreet sign at the entrance of a small building. When I went up, I saw a brightly lit entrance at the back of the building. It is very difficult to enter!
The restaurant is inside, and foodstuffs and daily necessities are all in the back. There were no customers, and the mom sitting there looked at me with a “what? She looked at me with a “what? Scary….
I asked if I could eat inside. I asked, and they said yes, so I looked at the menu. But I have no idea! ADOBO SILOG, DAING SILOG, LONG SILOG…. Apparently, this “SILOG” means “set meal”.
When I pointed to the menu to ask for an explanation, all I got was “something – beef” or “something – fish”. There are pictures on the regular menu, but I don’t know how they season “Pork” and “Chicken”.
As I mumbled and mumbled my way through my worries, my mom got tired of it and said, “Meat is good,” to which I replied, “You don’t eat fish, do you? You don’t eat fish, do you? The lady in the kitchen was so enthusiastic that she lit the stove.
Inside the restaurant, there was an interesting lineup of prepared foods for takeout. As I was taking pictures around, the mama asked me “Blogger?” in a pronounced accent. I thought for a few seconds and said “Yes, I’m a blogger.
I don’t know what it was, but this was the TAP SILONG I ordered!
I was expecting to see a dish with a huge volume of food, but this is what came out!
I guess you could call it spicy stir-fried beef. The fried egg looks like a main dish. However, the garlic rice tastes exotic and delicious, and the beef has a rich flavor that makes the rice go down a treat. Above all, the beef bone broth is oily and delicious.
With the high cost of living, I guess 1,375 yen for this is not too expensive. I was convinced that it was not expensive, but I wanted to try other dishes, so I bought take-out adobo and an omelette-like dish.
Tasting “adobo” and “fish-related omelette” at home
When I heated them up at home, I found that the adobo was tender and the pork was well cooked in a soy sauce and vinegar sauce. The meat is tender and tender. It’s gritty in a good way, and oilers (fat lovers) will not be able to get enough of it. It has a strong flavor, so on-the-rice is recommended.
I asked my mom what was in the omelette. I asked my mom what was in the omelet, and she said “fish related”, so I wondered what it was. It was tuna, not sea chicken, but large chunks of tuna, so I can see why you might be tempted to just call it fish-related.
There have been various rumors that “the Filipino pubs in Takenotsuka have been decimated” and “it is no longer Little Manila,” but Raza-san of New Hungry says that his store never closed even once in the COVID-19 crisis, and the pubs are also doing well at night. In fact, Takenotsuka is a place where girls (?) can enjoy themselves during the daytime. I made a new discovery: Takenotsuka is a town where you can enjoy yourself even if you visit alone during the daytime! I made a new discovery.
By the way, I asked Raza if there were any other Filipino restaurants in Takenotsuka, and she told me that there was a place called “Panji” just across the railroad tracks. But I couldn’t find it on the Internet, so I couldn’t find it… I asked her, “Are you close? I asked him, “Do you get along with them?” He replied, “I know them, but we are not close!
If anyone knows “Pansy”, please let me know. I wonder which “railroad track” is the “railroad track”….
Interview, text, and photographs： Shigeru Nekota
Born in 1979. Worked as an editor and writer for town magazines, travel books, and recipe books. Currently, as a web writer, he writes on a wide range of topics from decadent food to traditional crafts. He loves to drink despite his weakness, and his life motto is "Sake is best drunk while walking.
Shigeru Nekota's food blog "I love quirky restaurants! https://nekotashigeru.site/