Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant: For The Big Appetite in Cebu

I'd like to believe that Cebuanos fell in love with Japanese cuisine. One only has to look at how many Japanese restaurants there are in Cebu. More than just the traditional ramen noodles, teriyaki dishes, tempura, sushi, and sashimi, other Japanese dishes have become common in Cebu.

Some restaurants have taken this Cebuano love for Japanese food to a higher level. Restaurants that serve Japanese dishes in fusion with other cuisine are quite common. One of these places is Sumo Sam at Ayala Center Cebu.

Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant

By all means, Sumo Sam is a Japanese restaurant. It retains many traditional Japanese dishes and restaurant customs such as a hot towel before a meal. But it also integrates some Western influences on their menu. 

Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant in Cebu City
Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant in Cebu City

In this post, I look back to that one time I dined here. I remember it to be quite an expensive meal. I did have salmon and steak so that kind of bloated my expense. For my meal, I had a salmon and steak combo. Part of the promotion back then, the meal included a bowl of Japanese fried rice a couple of Japanese rolls, and a bowl of salad greens.

They served the miso soup, salad greens, and Japanese rolls first. The miso soup serving is bigger than what I usually get at other restaurants. Salad greens were fresh and the lettuce had a good crunch. All were good, nothing extraordinary though.

Japanese rolls miso soup and salad greens at Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant
Japanese rolls, miso soup, and salad greens
I find the Japanese fried rice to be a little wanting in ingredients. While it had generous spices in it, there was too little meat in it. I probably got too used to having lots of colorful things in my fried rice. That's why I like Chinese fried rice so much.

Japanese fried rice at Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant
Japanese fried rice

Now on to the main entrees. Salmon was pan seared but I guess it got well done a little too well. I love to enjoy my salmon grilled or baked so I can savor that soft and succulent fish meat. Sumo Sam's version is overcooked compared to how I prefer it. I sure hope this would be one of the better places to order salmon in Cebu, but it is not. My top place for a salmon dish is still at Maple.

They also did not get my steak right. I always order my steak well done and made sure to tell them when I placed my order. Instead, they served my order medium rare. I haven't really sampled a good lot of steaks in Cebu, but I can tell you that one good place to get them is at Acacia Steakhouse.

steak and salmon combo meal at Sumo Sam Japanese Restaurant
Steak and salmon combo meal

Location and Contact Information

Business Address: Ground Floor, The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 401 0643
Twitter: @SumoSamCebu

My Sumo Sam dining experience is not my best Japanese meal in Cebu. It is also not the worst. Kind of an average experience. The one positive that I see here though is the meal size. The serving portions can definitely feed a sumo appetite. I hardly finished my meal and I have a fairly big appetite myself.

How about you? Have you dined at Sumo Sam? How was your experience? Did you find something good in their menu that we missed? Tell us in the comments below.

Tempura Japanese Grill: My Top Place For Gyoza in Cebu City

As it's name suggests, Tempura Japanese Grill's specialty dish ought to be tempura. As a true lover of Japanese cuisine, tempura is one of my favorites. I couldn't be happier to try it in Japanese restaurants around Cebu. I sure did hope that Tempura Japanese Grill's rendition is the best in town. Truth is, not for me. 

Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City

The Tempura Japanese Grill branch in Cebu is located at the ground floor of the SM City Cebu Northwing in the North Reclamation Area of Cebu City. It was in late February 2016 when I first dined at Tempura Japanese Grill. I definitely ordered tempura and 2 familiar Japanese dishes: tonkatsu and gyoza. They also gave me the customary complimentary miso soup to start my meal. The soup was good and much like how it is in other restaurants.

Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City
Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City

Due to the fact that I anticipated their tempura to be the best I ever tasted in Cebu, I was a bit disappointed that it was not the case. I also wanted to order the king prawn tempura but they ran out of it when it was my turn to dine. 

Having tasted their version, my top choice to get tempura in Cebu is still at Choobi Choobi Restaurant.  Their rendition was a little bit too soggy. I wished they shook more of the excess oil off before plating and serving it. While it had some good flavor in it, the excess oil kind of takes away some of the crunch from the breading. Besides, the oiliness can make you feel a  bit sick.

But I still want to go back and try their king prawn version. If they ran out of it, there must be something good about it. Don't you think so?

Shrimp Tempura at Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City
Ebi tempura

The tonkatsu was good. The pork meat tasted sweet probably from how they seasoned it. It's breading had enough crunch and they probably put some extra egg in it to make it fluffier. They served it on a bowl of sweet Japanese rice then sprinkled it with spring onions. Not the best tonkatsu I came across but it's definitely one dish I can come back for. My top place to get Tonkatsu? I'd still go for that Kurobota pork cutlet at Tonkatsu by Terazawa.

Pork cutlet bowl at Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City

The pleasant surprise that I came across though is the gyoza. I have some mixed feelings about gyoza as sometimes they are really good. But sometimes, I come across some varieties that do not suit my taste preference. Tempura Grill does it right for me. Their version was probably boiled or steamed before it was fried. It's not too sticky and had a good balance of vegetable and meat as filling. That filling was well-seasoned too. I can keep coming back for this as it is really good. This is now my top pick for gyoza in Cebu.

Pot stickers at Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City
For more information about this Japanese restaurant you may follow them on Facebook or Instagram. Customer feedback may be sent through e-mail at

Have you dined at Tempura Japanese Grill in Cebu City? What do you think about their tempura? What are your favorite dishes in their menu? You may tell us in the comments below.

Mactan Newtown: A City Within a City in Mactan Island

Last 7 October 2017, I had the chance to visit one of the emerging lifestyle centers and BPO hubs. It is located in Lapu-lapu City on the island of Mactan. Named Mactan Newtown, this developing center is one of Megaworld Corporation's first major townships outside Metro Manila. It even has its own beachfront and has a lot of potential for growth. I can only be excited about what else is in store for this township project. By now, it's already getting noticed.

Where to Dine at Mactan Newtown

For now, the township boasts an assortment of dining options. This includes a McDonalds fast food chain.  A 7/11 convenience store is right next to it. A Japanese restaurant called Shikisai is also worth checking out. Civet Coffee is a cozy cafe you might want to visit as well. You can also find more food choices at Mactan Alfresco. Mactan Alfresco is an open air food court. It is largely inspired by the hawkers food centers in Singapore. 

Meximama Mexican Restaurant at at Mactan Newtown

Aicila Suites: A Cheap and Clean Hotel in Cebu City

When companies decide to conduct a training outside of the company, one of the main concerns besides the location and accessibility of the place would be the cost. Aicila Suites as a seminar venue can provide those variables as well as present a welcoming venue for training. The Cebu Teambuilding Facilitators Network affiliates were at Aicila Suites on 28 July 2016 to conduct a sales and marketing seminar for Fabulosa de Fashion, a clothing retail store with several branches in Metro Cebu.

Aicila Suites 

Aicila Suites is a Cebu City hotel situated at the crossroads of Talamban and Cabangcalan. The hotel features guest rooms and suites that provide free internet access. Balkon Bar is the in-house restaurant. Family KTV is also situated within the hotel building. Family KTV provides a number of rooms for Karaoke and Wii games. The hotel offers enough space to hold different kinds of events. Weddings, social gatherings, and corporate training events are some examples. Strategically located in one of the busier areas in Cebu, the hotel has a 7-Eleven convenience store and Park N’Go Bakeshop for quick and convenient stops during a busy day. 

Aicila Suites in Cebu City
Aicila Suites

Ogtong Cave Resort in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu

With the summer heat hitting the main island of Cebu, Bantayan Island is surely becoming the go to destination for a wet and wild escapade this summer. Well, not necessarily a wet and wild escapade. Bantayan Island can cater to different kinds of travelers. You can have a quiet vacation, an adventurous one, a nature-inspired travel experience, or probably even a mystic trip. That's how versatile Bantayan Island is. Of course one consideration is where to stay in the island. We suggest you consider Ogtong Cave Resort.

Numerous companies are also preparing and looking for conducive places to combine a company outing with employees and a company’s team building event. One of the resorts that is good for a company outing and team building is the Ogtong Cave Resort.

Ogtong Cave Resort in Bantayan Island
Ogtong Cave Resort

Santa Fe Beach Club in Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines

Summer is finally here with all its beach craze, outdoor and water activities, and what more fun way to experience all that in one of the best natural white sand beaches in the country – at the white beaches of Bantayan Island. As exciting as it can be, organizations also organize fun-filled activities with their employees and teams thus look for potential venues conducive for the energy and excitement of employees. All this can be found at Santa Fe Beach Club in Bantayan.

Located at Santa Fe town, it is literally a few minutes’ walk from the Sante Fe port. One can even see the beach’s primary rest house from afar, sporting a large white triangular house making it a sought after beach club for those wanting to enjoy the place’s naturally white sand and beach.

Santa Fe Beach Club in Bantayan Island
Santa Fe Beach Club