5.348 TERPPHD-4 PP2-Asunaro : American Lobster Aburi Gunkan

-Cycle 5, Item 348-
19 (Fri) December 2014

American Lobster Aburi Gunkan


at Asunaro (Pan-Pacific Hotel)

-Malate, Manila-


TERPPHD* (Try Every Restaurant in Pan-Pacific ManilaHyatt Regency Hotel & Casino Manila, and Diamond Hotel Philippines).

*Thanks to reader DC, I've changed the name of the project.

Attempting to eat my way through the three 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment.   Not all the menu items, just one meal per restaurant.  Currently a total of 11: 5 in Pan-Pacific, 3 in Hyatt, 3 in Diamond.  After 11 months of complaining about the food in the neighborhood, usually relating to quality, I'm hoping that the major hotels ought to do better, at least in terms of quality.  Though bound to be expensive, the cost and time and trouble of going to Makati or Bonifacio, where good eats tend to be found, would more-or-less even out.  As the objective is the food, the hotels per se holding no significance, I may fold the project if the on-going returns seem to suggest that I'm wasting my energy.

TERPPHD is the 3rd among the 4 "Try Every..." projects, including TERRP (Try Every Restaurant in Robinsons Place (see finally 5.247 Original Recipe Fried Chicken) (complete), TEITY (Try Every Item in Tao Yuan) (see most recently 5.347 Japanese-Style Corn Soup) (in process), and TEKREM (Try Every Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 5.346 Deep-Fried Okdom) (in process).

The Pan-Pacific Manila--5-star hotel.

Adriatico Square is a food court of sorts, located on the ground floor, consisting of 3 coffee shops and 4 restaurants, 3 of which are mini versions of full-service establishments located elsewhere in the hotel; in the distance, off to the left, te neon signs of Tao Yuan ablaze.

This is the 4th restaurant to be covered, the 2nd from The Pan-Pacific. 13 to go.

Tier 1 (looking forward to return visit):
(4) 19 Dec 2014 / PP2-Asunaro

Tier 2 (maybe, but not enthusiastically):
(1) 14 Jan 2014 / PP1-China Place (Pan-Pacific Hotel) (5.009 Peking Duck) / 2.5
(3) 2 Dec 2014 / H1-The Fireplace (5.331 Certified Angus Beef Rib-Eye Steak) / 2.5

Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):
(2) 10 Apr 2014 / D1-Corniche (5.095 Peking Duck) / 1.0

Tier 4 (to be avoided at all costs):
(0) none yet

TERPPHD will not include the mini versions in Adriatico Square.

Asunaro is a Japanese restaurant.  Enormously thick menu offers an astoundingly wide variety of dishes, perhaps around probably over 300 individual items, though nothing particularly surprising, just every type of sushi imaginable, every type of donburi, every type of tempura, etc.   Part of of the same ownership group that operates the other Japanese eateries in the hotel.

Aburi is a Japanese cooking technique.  Consists of partially searing a piece of meat or fish, done in the old days over an open flame but nowadays with a hand-held torch, leaving only bits or edges burnt, the rest often left untouched.  Ideally, the result is a juxtaposition of extremes in textures and tastes, from the soft and subtle to the crisp and charred.

Gunkan is a form of sushi.  Consists of a bite-sized rice ball, wrapped in a cylinder of dried laver, typically topped with minced fish (e.g., nego toro) or fish roe (e.g., uni).  The term comes from the Japanese for "warship."

Chawan Mushi (2.5)--a bit too salty.

American Lobster Aburi Gunkan (2.0)--generally, I feel that crustaceans need to be fully cooked, both to bring out the sweetness of the flesh and to develop that silky chewiness; case in point, the lobster here was rather bland and kinda slimy, even if seared; and each of the gunkan was way too big for a single bite; however, the mayo-based topping was nice; I might order this again, only ask the kitchen to cook the lobster all the way, and make the gunkan smaller.

Ju Toro Nigiri Sushi (2.5)--more like akami.

Yasai Suimono (3.5) (vegetable clear broth)--delectably delicate broth, enhanced by aburi shiitake; best dish of the meal.

Overall, the food was good.  No particular standouts, but everything contained high quality ingredients, properly executed--exactly what I'd hoped to find when launching TERPPHD.  


  1. I live on the Canadian east coast...lots of lobster, haha. Never tried it raw do they get rid of potential parasites?

  2. my understanding is that the risk of food poisoning from raw lobster is about the same as other shellfish, such as shrimp or oysters, which means that the risk does exist, but should be okay so long as the lobster is fresh and properly handled and that the consumer doesn't have a compromised immune system, etc.

    come to think of it, for various reasons, ordering raw lobster from a restaurant IN MANILA where i've never been was extremely risky. fortunately, i was okay.

    in any case, as i mentioned, i don't think that raw lobster is very good.