Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ajisoo Japanese / Korean restaurant -- a valuable find at the Cartimar Market

When I was growing up, Cartimar Market in Pasay City was synonymous with expensive imported goods.  Today, it is more known for its many pet stores,  bicycle shops and a high quality wet market.  These past years, it is also where Japanese and Korean restaurants source their authentic, hard to find ingredients and supplies. 

A number of these groceries and mini-marts can be found all in a row on one side of the market.  Right beside them are a few restaurants serving a mix of both Japanese and Korean dishes.  
One such place is Ajisoo -- located right alongside the row of food stores.  After shopping, you can drop by for a casual, appetising meal.

Ajisoo is a simple, no-frills place -- it's clean and the tables are set comfortably apart from each other. 
On this hot day, I was glad their air conditioner was operating at full blast.

Ajisoo is both a Japanese and a Korean restaurant.  Kim bob or korean sushi is offered right beside California maki.  The prices were surprisingly affordable -- which made me want to order just about everything on the menu.

The bento boxes were particularly attractive -- complete with soup and sides, you could have one for as low as P145.

While there are offerings from both cuisines, I noticed a slight skew towards Korean food.  There were also noodle dishes -- I can't imagine how they could sell udon for just one hundred pesos.  
What a great deal!

We finally settled on our orders.  The California maki came on a large platter and had twelve generous slices -- I couldn't help myself and had two before I remembered to take the photo.  
The chef was liberal with the tobiko (fish roe) and the kani slices were fat and firm.   
The mango was sun ripened sweet  and the smudge of  mayonnaise,  Kewpie-smooth and creamy.

I ordered the bibimbap which came sizzling on a stone plate.  The egg was perfectly fried, the beef was tender and the vegetables were crisp and well seasoned.  The kimchi was definitely home made and one of the best I had ever tasted.  I mixed everything with a large dollop of the piquant gochujang
the ubiquitous Korean chili paste. 

We also ordered a sashimi bento that came with six firm and fresh slices of tuna and salmon, plus 
a small salad of julienned cabbage with a drizzle of more Kewpie mayonnaise.  There were two pieces of a garlicky gyoza, a spoonful of potato salad and some vegetables steamed with sesame oil .  
This bento set cost just P195  -- how can you say no to that?

While there are no desserts offered, a small freezer by the cashier is well stocked with Korean ice cream bars.  You are more than welcome to browse and reach in for your choice.

This chocolate ice cream sandwich was light and the cake was spongy and not too sweet.  
Best of all, it was just P45!  
From appetiser to entree to dessert, this place is truly well worth a visit.  
After a shopping spree at Cartimar Market,  you'll have more than enough left over for an honest-to- goodness Japanese / Korean meal at Ajisoo.
Anyeong haseyo! Irrashai mase!

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