Ibuki: an exquisite taste of Japan in Taiwan

JAPAN was on the travel list. It was the next destination after Taiwan. I was in Taipei but even before I set foot on Japanese soil, I was already feasting on its cuisine in a most delectable way at Ibuki, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel’s Japanese restaurant.

“And this is Ibuki, our Japanese restaurant,” said Carloyn Lee, the hotel’s communications manager, to end the tour of the hotel, “This is where we are having a Teppanyaki lunch.”

“Ibuki by Takagi Kazuo is Taiwan’s first Japanese restaurant to operate in concordance with Michelin standards. The restaurant follows and practices the culinary concepts of Consultant Chef Takagi Kazuo, the owner and head chef of Takagi in Japan, a restaurant that has earned two Michelin stars since 2010, when the first Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Nara version of the Michelin Guide was published.”

The chef specializes in Kyoto cuisine, thus Ibuki prides itself with “exquisite Kyoto cuisine with a Michelin-starred approach” and leading the culinary team in Taiwan is the former sous chef of Takagi, Kudo Masakazu.

JAPAN. The third course was this - prawn with all its parts cooked to be enjoyed. (Jinggoy I. Salvador)
JAPAN. The third course was this – prawn with all its parts cooked to be enjoyed. (Jinggoy I. Salvador)

Kyoto cuisine, Teppanyaki, Sushi, and Tempura are four styles of authentic Japanese cuisine that the restaurant places emphasis on to allow diners to enjoy a wide variety of delicacies prepared with a modern Kyoto touch.

The cuisine Ibuki promises may be first-rate but the restaurant is relaxed and the atmosphere, casual. It’s a place where an entire family can enjoy good food and good company.(MORE)

Google’s Year in Search: Pop culture, elections, and more

GOOGLE’S annual list of top trending searches reveals topics that uncover the moments that surprised, captivated, and moved Pinoys.

Filipinos’ love for pop culture is evident as this year’s overall top trending search term is “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber from his fourth album Purpose. Several Filipino artists did a cover of this song including James Reid and Kristel Fulgar, while YouTube creator Mikey Bustos did a parody of the song highlighting what courtship is like in the Philippines.

Following Bieber’s song are game applications slither.io and Pokémon Go on the second and third spots, respectively. Filipinos got hooked on catching pocket monsters in different areas of the country when Pokémon Go was made available in August.

Though Pokemon Go surpassed Slither.io in terms of downloads, Filipinos got more curious about Slither.io. This multiplayer game has a touch of the classic snake game where the player needs to grow the snake by collecting gems and defeating other snakes.

Other pop culture terms earning a spot on the trending search list are the movies Train to Busan and Suicide Squad, as well as chart-toppers “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey and “Secret Love Song” by Little Mix and Jason Derulo.(MORE)

Warsaw wandering

“WHEN in Rome, do as the Romans do,” goes the adage on following the customs of the land you’re in.
Well, they didn’t count on this Filipina touching down in Warsaw and doing whatever she wanted to do in Poland’s capital.

So on a spectacularly sunny day in June, when hatless visitors braved the sun’s piercing rays to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Pilsudski Square, I stood my ground as the only person in Warsaw to use an umbrella on a rainless day.


My sisters tried to increase their distance from me as we explored Warsaw’s largest square and the Saxon Garden behind it, where I was sorely tempted to use my umbrella to whack a pair of young lovers who could not take enough selfies in front of the garden. Wilting in the heat, I prayed that their ardor for each other would burn them up so they would disappear and I could finally have my turn to take photos.

Actually, we just chanced upon the garden and the monument to the unnamed soldiers who died for Poland, as we took a shortcut through the square to get to the Old Town (Stare Miasto) that our guide had taken us to earlier.(MORE)