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 wasn’t even Friday and here I was at the side of the road, hailing a tricycle pleasantly buzzed. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that’s 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 didn’t notice that it was already 2 p.m. and I haven’t had any lunch yet. After several rounds of unmotivated requests of “Tara, seryoso, kain na tayo,” my cousins and I headed out to D’Mall to grab some food.
As I said, I’ve never been to Boracay before and as soon as we got to the part of D’Mall where all the restaurants were, I thought to myself: “Wow. This is like Greenbelt. With sand. Sort of.” 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 wasn’t crowded and had food that matched our already laid-back demeanor—and that lead us to Hama Japanese Cuisine.
Hama, it turns out, is Japanese for 'shore' or 'beach'—perfect.
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 could’ve planned a strict itinerary that would’ve 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)—a 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
It’s 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 me—which I gladly inhaled. Come on. Fat is flavor, people.
Without missing a beat, we were served Act II of our epic beach meal, this time in noodle form. The Yakiudon (P410) was a flavor barrage of sautéed udon with a healthy heaping of veggies, pork and seafood topped with caviar and nori. Forkfuls of the perfectly cooked noodles were devoured by my cousins and as for me, operating on the unfounded assumption that my cousin brought anti-histamine, I risked a hefty bite (I’m allergic to shrimp) and I have to say the noodles tasted pretty good.
Hama Sushi Sashimi Boat Deluxe
I could’ve 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. It’s crazy delicious and is totally worth the price. You only live once, right? Might as well spend for awesome food when you can, you won’t be eating this everyday anyway.
Seared Tuna Tartar
We haven’t 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. It’s 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 it’s 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 Boracay’s awesome shores and spend the whole day with sand between my toes. I promised myself I would go back soon and when I do, I’m definitely going to revisit Hama and this time, I’m trying all the other dishes on their menu. Itadakimasu!