Japanese food

Menu, prices: Osaka’s Don Don Tei opens 1st branch in Metro Manila

Steph Arnaldo

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Menu, prices: Osaka’s Don Don Tei opens 1st branch in Metro Manila
Rice is life! Here's what to expect from Osaka's famous donburi chain, now open at Robinsons Galleria.

MANILA, Philippines – All rice for more rice! Because the Philippines and Japan share the same culture of rice as an everyday staple, one of Japan’s famous donburi chains decided to set up shop in Metro Manila for the first time.

Under Gourmet Kineya, Don Don Tei – which means “rice bowl house” – opened its first Philippine branch on the second floor of Robinsons Galleria on March 20.

IN MANILA. Osaka’s donburi chain Don Don Tei is working on solidifying its presence in the Philippines.

Founded in Abeno, Osaka in 1988, the original 14-seat bar of Don Don Tei has since grown into an international chain serving Osaka’s well-loved rice bowls that are “simple, convenient, tasty, and affordable.” Aside from Japan and now the Philippines, Don Don Tei can also be found in the United States and Hong Kong.

Menu, prices: Rice bowls and more

Hailing from the food capital of Japan – Osaka – Don Don Tei is known for its crispy tendon, tempura, and rice bowls with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood toppings. According to Don Don Tei, the dishes remain authentic to the OG recipes, but some have been slightly tweaked to cater to the Filipino palate.

MINIMALIST INTERIORS. Taking inspiration from its Japan outposts, the Don Don Tei branch in Robinsons Galleria spares no details.

Don Don Tei uses premium black tiger prawns for the Special Ebi Tendon (P450), ensuring high-quality tempura that highlights the fresh and chunky shrimp. It doesn’t get lost in the breading, which is made delicately thin from the house-made panko breadcrumbs.

SPECIAL EBI TENDON. Two pieces of black tiger prawn tempura and kakiage tempura on rice, topped with tendon sauce. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s a light and crispy tempura, deep-fried until golden-brown. Two pieces of ebi tendon (I wish there were more pieces) and kakiage tempura (eggplant, squash, bell pepper) are set atop a bowl of moist Japanese rice, with a sweet-savory tendon sauce drizzled on top.

There’s also the Ebi Tendon (P350) and Kakiage Ebi Tendon (P420).

WAGYU DONBURI. Slices of grilled wagyu meat are mixed with a yakiniku sauce on top of rice, topped with sesame seeds. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Don Don Tei’s beef options include Gyudon (P280), Sukiyaki Jyu (P395), and Wagyu Yakiniku Don (P675), the most premium option of the three. Around 5-7 slices of soft and tender wagyu are marinated in a savory yakiniku sauce, and then torched, resulting in a slightly smoky, char-grilled aftertaste. The side sesame cabbage salad adds a fresh contrast to the umami flavor.

For the pork options, there’s Tonkatsu Don with Sauce (P295), Katsudon (P295), and Katsu Curry (P320), with a crispy breaded pork cutlet served alongside vegetables and a sweet, thick Japanese curry.

PORK KATSU CURRY. The deep-fried pork cutlet is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Don Don Tei’s chicken rice bowls include Oyakodon (P270), Chicken Karaage Don (P295), Chicken Teriyaki Don (P295), and Chicken Karaage Curry (P320).

UNAJYU. Caramelized eel in a sweet-savory sauce atop Japanese rice. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

As for the fish, there’s Grilled Mackerel Don (P470), Salmon Teriyaki Don (P495), and the premium Unajyu (P650) that’s good for two. It’s a beautiful box filled with rice and perfectly-cooked, high-quality unagi (eel), with just the right amount of meat and fat with no fishy aftertaste. It’s cooked and glazed in an umami-rich, sweet teriyaki sauce that’s almost caramelized.

All donburi options come with a side of miso soup.

Other items on Don Don Tei’s menu include:

  • Niku Soba (P450)
  • Hot or Cold Soba Noodles with Mixed Tempura (P450)
  • Yasai Itame (stir-fried vegetables) P260
  • Futomaki (P295)
  • Chawanmushi (P125)
  • Potato salad (P70)
  • Gyoza (P215)
  • Mango Kani Salad (P285)
  • Creamy Crab Korokke (P250)
  • Tempura Maki (P325)
  • California Maki (P275)

You can also get ala carte servings of the soba (P250), ebi tempura (P350/P520), and additional meat toppings. Traditional desserts are also served.

DESSERT. Vanilla ice cream and strawberry compote are sandwiched between Don Don Tei’s signature monaka shells. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Don Don Tei’s group adheres to strict recipe guidelines from Japan, from the selection of the rice texture to the use of proprietary sauces.

Don Don Tei is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm at the Second Level, Robinsons Galleria, ADB Wing, Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City. – Rappler.com

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.