It was a rather sunny Thursday afternoon and I was already quite buzzed. It had been hot the whole day and I had the great idea of cooling down with a cold beer or two. Or five. It wasnât even Friday and here I was at the side of the road, hailing a tricycle pleasantly buzzed. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, thatâs right. I was in Boracay.
I had never been to Boracay before and as soon as the plane touched ground earlier that day all I could think about was relaxing in front of the beach with a cold beer or two. Or five. I guess I was having too much fun relaxing because I didnât notice that it was already 2 p.m. and I havenât had any lunch yet. After several rounds of unmotivated requests of âTara, seryoso, kain na tayo,â my cousins and I headed out to DâMall to grab some food.
As I said, Iâve never been to Boracay before and as soon as we got to the part of DâMall where all the restaurants were, I thought to myself: âWow. This is like Greenbelt. With sand. Sort of.â After a bit of walking around and giving the place a quick going-over, a couple of cousins and I decided to eat somewhere that wasnât crowded and had food that matched our already laid-back demeanorâand that lead us to Hama Japanese Cuisine.Â
Hama, it turns out, is Japanese for 'shore' or 'beach'âperfect.Â
After ordering drinks, we waited for our first course while my cousins, who had been to Boracay before, told me about the different things we could do in our 3-day stay there. We couldâve planned a strict itinerary that wouldâve packed our schedules with non-stop activity, but come on, we went there to relax so we agreed to throw away any semblance of structured time and play things by ear. By this time, my buzz was wearing off and I was getting hungry, very hungry.
As if by cue, the first dish arrived. The Hama Gyuniki Steak (P690)âa perfectly grilled glorious piece of rib-eye steak served with three dipping sauces: a savory su-miso sauce, a tart teriyaki balsamic dip and a characteristically Japanese wasabi glaze.
Hama Gyuniku Steak
Itâs also served with a siding of eggplant with bonito shavings. The steak is pre-cut into bite-sized pieces and we took turns trying out different combinations of steak and dip. One of my cousins is a real health buff and gave his share of insanely delicious fat to meâwhich I gladly inhaled. Come on. Fat is flavor, people.
I couldâve sworn we heard choirs of angels singing as this delicious cargo was brought to our table. The Hama Sushi Sashimi Boat Deluxe (P2,800) was an ensemble cast of expertly crafted nuggets of fresh seafood and rice. You get tuna (caught fresh from the waters around Boracay, the chef tells us), imported salmon, marlin, lapu-lapu, shrimp, unagi, squid and 2 kinds of maki. Itâs crazy delicious and is totally worth the price. You only live once, right? Might as well spend for awesome food when you can, you wonât be eating this everyday anyway.
Seared Tuna Tartar
We havenât even gone halfway through finishing the contents of the sushi sashimi boat when this last dish got to our table. The Seared Tuna Tartar (P250) is a molded column of raw tuna mixed with minced onions and garlic, the outside seared with a blowtorch. Itâs topped with black caviar and is laid down on a shallow pool of wasabi glaze. If you enjoy eating kinilaw, you must try this dish. Because itâs served on a plate of ice, it serves as a perfect appetizer on a hot summer day.
I must say this was an awesome first meal to have on my first trip to Boracay. As I write this article baking in this Manila heat, I yearn to go back to Boracayâs awesome shores and spend the whole day with sand between my toes. I promised myself I would go back soon and when I do, Iâm definitely going to revisit Hama and this time, Iâm trying all the other dishes on their menu. Itadakimasu!