An entertaining teppanyaki lunchBy Aissa dela Cruz
Cebu Daily News
My sisters Enchay and Ana share my predilection for Asian cuisine. Even our mother, Nanay as we fondly call her, will never forgive anyone who brings her to a restaurant that does not offer steamed rice and seafood. Next to Filipino cuisine, which Nanay has immersed us in while we were growing up, our palates also enjoy Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai flavors. Filipino food is best enjoyed at home since we have all learned to cook them well, replete Nanay’s precious culinary secrets.
My visits to San Diego, California are always filled with culinary excitement. Enchay and Ana know the Asian food scene there like the palm of their hands—from the bountiful fresh produce, specialty stores for those hard-to-look-for ingredients and, of course, where to dine. Asian immigrants have contributed greatly to the growing restaurant industry. With discerning palates, my sisters have identified several Asian restaurants where food is satisfying and affordable.
At whim, we decided to have lunch and enjoy grilled Japanese food. Shogun Restaurant, a short drive from Enchay’s place, offers great teppanyaki, a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook the freshest meat, seafood and vegetables. The teppan room has a number of metal griddles enough to seat up to 12 persons. So sharing a griddle means making friends, too. The Executive Lunch menu is served with soup or salad with ginger dressing, hibachi mixed vegetables, two signature dipping sauces, steamed rice and choice of entrees.
For an additional amount, one can have fried rice. After our choices were taken, a teppanyaki chef came to our table with a cart loaded with everyone’s orders. For the next 15 to 20 minutes, the teppanyaki chef was the center of attraction. With showmanship and agility, the chef prepares the teppan dishes. All in one swift act, he simultaneously grills our orders, juggling ingredients in the air with calculated speed. His expertise with the use of his kitchen utensils added to the show. Vegetables, which consisted of sliced onions, bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms were grilled, tossed, seasoned and set on one side. Then fresh samurai shrimps, diver’s scallops, calamari steak and salmon took center stage. In a few sizzling minutes, they were plated individually with the hibachi mixed vegetables on the side. I chose shrimps, Enchay had salmon whiled Ana had scallops. Our eyes remained glued to the chef while we started to enjoy the piping hot seafood and banzai sesame chicken sizzled on the grill. Our friend Cindyopted for hibachi fillet mignon, which went to the griddle last. The steak can either be seared or rare since the meat is cut in dices.
It is not surprising that Shogun Restaurant has been a popular dining place for 25 years now. The teppanyaki chefs’ great performance entertains diners while the transforming the freshest ingredients into healthy and delicious dishes.