Japanese-American fusion food
MANY of us grew up with Filipino traditional cuisine cooked by our grandmothers. Still, we do appreciate and enjoy different cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai, French, American and many more.
Fusion cuisine combines elements of various culinary traditions. It can be good when it combines ingredients and cooking techniques from several cultures in a way, which pulls together well, creating a fresh dish.
SumoSam is the idea of three young entrepreneurs: Raymund Magdaluyo of Red Crab, GMA marketing manager Ricky Laudico and actor Marvin Agustin. For its Cebu outlet, at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu, the trio tapped two young and dynamic
sisters Glecy Lopez Go and Shanna Lopez, whose family is into a successful real estate and trading business.
In keeping with the SumoSam
concept—Sumo for Japanese and Sam for American—SumoSam offers a Japanese-American fusion cuisine. Many diners will actually delight
in the fact that their portions are quite big. The motif is the Japanese wrestling sport Sumo and the extensive menu comes across as big and heavy contrary to the traditional Japanese cuisine, which is characteristically light.
Glecy Lopez Go and Shanna Lopez, together with Jaja Chiongbian-Rama hosted a sumo-sized lunch a few days before I flew to New York. I missed
the opening last year so I welcomed the invitation. We started with
salads—SumoSam’s Pride, a trio of iceberg, romain and lola rosa lettuce with grilled shrimp and mango and California Maki Salad with mayonnaise and Japanese vinegar dressing, topped with strips of kani (crab meat) and nori. A steaming hot pot of Salmon Jaw and Head Tofu Nabe with glass noodles stimulated our appetites.
I was tempted to pick on the salmon
jaw and head but decided otherwise.
Another hot pot of Seafood Kamameshi was served, a rice dish similar to Paella where the rice is cooked in flavorful broth but in a deep iron pot. It is a complete meal in itself. A hearty Mt. Fuji Noodles is a spicy dish of soba, minced pork with red chili and topped with fried eggs. We also had the classic Ebi Tempura, one of my favorites. For the vegans, there is
Sizzling Tofu Steak. The
tofu was silky and smooth smothered with a deliciously flavored Japanese sauce. I still had room for the Spider Roll, sushi with soft-shelled crab, kani, mango, teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo and shrimp roe. I had several pieces dipped in soy sauce with spicy wasabi.
To seal my SumoSam experience, we had a Tempura Banana Split—the classic American ice cream dessert with a Japanese twist—bananas delicately coated with tempura batter and deep fried.
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