Here’s a deep and important philosophical question for ya:
If you could only have one kind of food the rest of your life, what would it be?
It has to be a certain ethnicity or kind of food, so answers like “seafood,” “steak,” or “pancakes,” aren’t what we’re looking for here.
And once you chose, you had had to eat this type of food every single day as long as you lived.
What would it be?
Ok, while you’re mulling it over, let me interject with my thoughts on the matter (since you didn’t ask).
My top three candidates on that list are Italian, Mexican, and Japanese food. And although I’m from an area with some of the best Italian food in the world (New Haven, Connecticut), and Mexican food was the love of my life when I lived in California (and my beltline reflected that love), Japanese food would be my top choice.
Unfortunately , the pickings for GOOD Japanese food – usually in the form of a sushi restaurant – are slim to none in the Philippines. Sure, you’ll see a few imitation sushi restaurants that just serve deep fried crappy rolls, and other unhealthy Filipino grub rolled up.
There are some places that serve sashimi, too, but you have to be super careful about them for two reasons: price and quality. Some of them charge outrageous prices for just three little pieces of sashimi , sliced so thin you wonder if their chef in the back is using a razor blade and magnifying glass to cut the fish.
However, it’s the quality that really frightens me. Too often, food in the Philippines is just flat out unhygienic . Aside from the various ways its not properly refrigerated , washed, etc., I’ll just give you one example: many restaurants don’t even have soap in their washrooms (nor toilet paper), and that’s if their staff even bother with washing their hands at all, which I’ve noticed is about 1 in 10 Filipinos.
Are you properly grossed out now? Good, then let’s talk about one of the only places I ventured to try sashimi: the Mizu Japanese Restaurant in the city of Cebu in the Philippines. It’s actually located in the nice indoor food avenue of the Waterfront Hotel there (the one in Lahug, not the Mactan airport location), where the restaurants aspire to be high end for sophisticated travelers.
Mizu definitely looks nice enough, if not entirely creatively decorated, so that’s not a problem.
The prices are definitely not cheap by Philipines standards, but you don’t get ripped off, either, so I would say it’s just about fair for a high-quality dining experience. The staff, too, are friendly and responsive and offer better service than the ridiculously scattered and chaotic usual Filipino waitstaff.
So, how about the food? It appears to be safe to eat, and I didn’t get sick. I ordered a sashimi sampler and it wasn’t huge, but ordering two of them was a perfect filling meal for someone like me with an appetite. You can tell it had been stored and refrigerated and prepared properly, but, still, it was about a B grade at best.
I recommend Mizu if you are just dying for a sushi fix and won’t be going home soon or visiting a more gastronomically advanced country (like Tsunami Sushi in Thailand!). However, you’ll leave Mizu having made a compromise with your stomach that you promise not to eat sushi in the Philippines again if you don’t get sick. You probably won’t, but neither will you say that you want to eat nothing but Japanese food for the rest of your life.