Menya Hachi cooks up union of Japanese, Hawaian flavors

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With such ramen dishes as Cheese Bari Kote, Shoyu, and Oxtail and specials like Mochiko Chicken and Loco Moco, Menya Hachi in Ayala Malls Central Bloc aims to add diversity to Cebu’s culinary scene.

Couple Robert and Mary Tambis, who co-own the restaurant with two other family members, said they wanted to put up something unique in Cebu and felt that a Japanese-Hawaian restaurant would be a good fit.

CHEESE BARI KOTE RAMEN. Cheese is added to the resto’s signature dish to offer a mouthwatering explosion of different flavors.
CHEESE BARI KOTE RAMEN. Cheese is added to the resto’s signature dish to offer a mouthwatering explosion of different flavors.

Although it might seem unusual for the two cuisines to come together, it isn’t the case in Hawaii where a thriving Japanese population has managed to complement the local specialties.

Culinary revolution

The husband and wife team went to Hawaii in September 2019 and decided to bring to Cebu the remarkable culinary union of East and West.

OPENING. Menya Hachi owners, officials, employees, and guests cut the ribbon to open the restaurant located in Ayala Malls Central Bloc in the IT Park.
OPENING. Menya Hachi owners, officials, employees, and guests cut the ribbon to open the restaurant located in Ayala Malls Central Bloc in the IT Park.

“We are revolutionizing the dining landscape in Cebu. We see that the Cebuanos will always look for something new to satisfy the palate. Thus, we are bringing new flavors to their plates,” said Cebuano entrepreneur Robert Tambis.

Menya is “noodle shop” in Japanese while hachi means infinite and the choice of name serves to announce the restaurant’s flavorful ramen varieties.

SPAM MUSUBI. This is a popular snack in Hawaii. The dish is made of spam on top of a block of rice and wrapped with nori.
SPAM MUSUBI. This is a popular snack in Hawaii. The dish is made of spam on top of a block of rice and wrapped with nori.

Japanese, Hawaian flavors

Overseeing the Menya Hachi kitchen is Chef Masaaki, a native of Hawaii with pure Japanese roots. Masaaki, who has been in the food business for 30 years, said during the opening yesterday, January 23, that he is excited to share his favorite Japanese flavors with Cebu.

The restaurant uses Katamen firm noodles that trace its origin from Japan’s Hakata province. Mary Tambis said the noodles, not too thick or thin, make their ramen different from what is currently available on the market right now.

LOCO MOCO. This is Hawaiian-style burger steak served on a bed of Japanese white rice with brown gravy and egg.
LOCO MOCO. This is Hawaiian-style burger steak served on a bed of Japanese white rice with brown gravy and egg.

They also take pride in their Hawaian specialties like Mochiko Chiken, which reinvents the Japanese karaage, and Loco Moco, a burger steak served on a bed of Japanese white rice, gravy, and egg.

Located at the Central Bloc Corte, Menya Hachi is open from 11 am to 11 pm daily.

OXTAIL RAMEN. This dish has oxtail meat simmered for 6 hours to bring out the tenderness and flavor. It is served with shiitake mushrooms, bok choi, and green onions over Hakata-style noodles.
OXTAIL RAMEN. This dish has oxtail meat simmered for 6 hours to bring out the tenderness and flavor. It is served with shiitake mushrooms, bok choi, and green onions over Hakata-style noodles.
PORK CURRY. Japanese-style curry with slow-braised, tender pork and carrots served with Japanese white rice.
PORK CURRY. Japanese-style curry with slow-braised, tender pork and carrots served with Japanese white rice.

By Marlen Limpag

Marlen is the editor of MyCebu.ph and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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