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OZEN Japanese Food Haven in Malabon Serves the Best Takoyaki We’ve Ever Had!

There’s this small Japanese hole-in-the-wall food stop near our house that we usually see jam-packed with customers at night. We really had no plans at all of trying the place, since we’ve had authentic Japanese fare from topnotch restaurants and hotels in Manila (Yabang naman! 😀 ) and we’re quite sure that the place will be nothing less than a disappointment. But it was until we met a fellow foodie who raved about how awesome their Takoyaki was that we finally decided to pay OZEN Japanese Food in Malabon a visit.

OZEN Japanese Food - hole-in-the-wall food haven in Malabon City

Our first try was a total disaster, service-wise. They had 3 groups of families that were dining in, so we had to wait over an hour to finally get our food. We ordered three sets of Takoyaki — two to-go and one for dining in because we wanted to take a quality photo of their Takoyaki for the blog. I didn’t get my hopes up, since my first encounter with a mall-bought Takoyaki was totally unremarkable.

You can order your Takoyaki for takeout too

I picked up a piece and took a small bite. My eyes widened in amazement, and from then I knew that it’s the best Takoyaki I’ve ever had my whole life! Well, I exaggerated a bit there. 😀 It took us a couple of balls to finally establish how delicious their Takoyaki was. It was so good that we came back the next day – in the afternoon this time – so we didn’t have to battle a crowd of patrons to get our food.

This is how Takoyaki should be cooked - through and through!

We got ourselves another 3 sets of Takoyaki, which has become our usual order. A single serving gets you 4 pieces of Takoyaki for Php 30.00. Each ball has a chunky bit of octopus meat inside. Each piece is then drizzled with some Japanese mayonnaise and Takoyaki sauce, and finally topped with dried green seaweed and dried fish flakes.

Takoyaki from OZEN Japanese Food

In the countless times we’ve pigged out at this place, we were lucky to spot Cecille, the wife of the Japanese owner one time. We put her on the spot for a little impromptu interview. We found out that it’s her family who runs the place, with her brothers taking care of most of the cooking of the Takoyaki. Only family members know the recipes to their sauces. There’s even this one person who loved their takoyaki so much, she wanted to buy the recipe from them. 😀

Cecille owns this small hole-in-the-wall Japanese food stop in Malabon City

We also learned that Cecille made a few adjustments to the original recipe to fit the Pinoy taste. The authentic Japanese version is not cooked through and through, leaving you raw Takoyaki batter inside. That’s what the Japanese prefer, but similar to steaks, Pinoys want their food well-cooked. It’s the same issue I’ve had with other versions of Takoyaki – the batter inside is raw, so you get grits of flour that I personally found unpleasing to the palate. That simple adjustment really made all the difference, and it’s surely the reason why I changed my mind about Takoyaki.

Busy preparing our Takoyaki balls at OZEN Japanese Food

We also tried one of their best-sellers, the Korokke, which is deep-fried potatoes covered in crispy bread crumbs, and served with a big mound of cabbage salad with Japanese mayo for a meager Php 30. It’s a bit on the heavy side, so a single serving would be more than enough for one person.

Korokke from OZEN Japanese Food

They also offer the most popular kind of Japanese nori-wrapped fare – the California Maki. For Php 100, you get six huge pieces of maki with sides of wasabi and pickled ginger. They make the biggest California Maki I’ve ever seen. Even in hotels and restaurants, they don’t serve it as big as they do.

California Maki from OZEN Japanese Food

It’s also important to mention that they use only good-quality Japanese rice with their maki rolls and other rice meals. Ozen’s maki has slices of Japanese egg omelet, crab sticks, mangoes, and cucumber. Each roll is enrobed with the iconic orange salmon roe, which we think is the best kind we’ve tried. You can literally pop each piece with your teeth and it’ll burst out with a subtle saltiness that’s truly addictive.

One thing Pinoys share with the Japanese is their love for rice. It’s a major reason why Japanese is one of my favorite international cuisines, coming a close second to Italian food. When we’re at Ozen, we always order 3 servings of Takoyaki for our appetizers and two or three rice meals for our entrée. Well, it depends on how hungry we are. If we woke up with a voracious appetite, my sister and I would share a third plate. All their rice meals come with a piping hot serving of Miso Soup, made from scratch upon order. I also mentioned earlier that they only use high-quality Japanese rice, so an extra cup would cost you Php 30 – an additional expense we’re more than willing to pay.

Piping hot Miso Soup

Most of the photos here were taken using our S3 phones, so some might be blurry.

It’s a given that Ozen’s Katsu Don will never be as good as Yabu’s, but for Php 120, consider it a bargain! Their Katsu Don is a piece of deep-fried pork cutlet braised in a broth of soy sauce and onions, served on top of steamed Japanese rice. It actually tastes even better than the ones served at Tokyo Tokyo. Seriously.

Pork Katsu Don from OZEN

The dish comes with authentic Japanese rice, so you won’t have a hard time finishing the whole bowl using a chopstick, without having to resort to using a spoon in eating the last tidbits of rice.

Another dish we tried was their Gyuo Don, which is a bowl of braised beef strips with onions, served on top of Japanese rice, comes with a small dollop of pickled ginger and a bowl of Miso Soup all for only Php 100. The beef strips are flavorful and tender, with hints of ginger and soy sauce.

Gyuo Don from OZEN - beef strips and pickled ginger

The pickled ginger was off-putting for me, so the second time I ordered it, I took some out of my bowl. That’s the case for me, but I’m not sure it’s the same for other people (my sister liked it).

We also tried their Chicken Katsu Don. For Php 100, you get a piece of deep-fried chicken cutlet with crispy breading, then braised in a sauce with onions and fresh egg. It’s our second favorite, coming second to their Chicken Karaage, which I will talk about later.

Chicken Katsu Don from OZEN

Ozen’s Hayashi Rice (Php 120) reminds us of the popular Filipino fare, Beef Pares, but a lot less sweet. The beef strips are tender and quite flavorful, but it didn’t totally wow us that much, so the one time we ordered it would probably be our first and last. But it’s worth a try though, especially with its sweet sauce that complements the beef strips well. It’s a good choice if you want a break from deep-fried food and you are craving for something a little bit saucy.

Hayashi Rice from OZEN

We’ve mentioned a couple of times on our blog that we love Tokyo Tokyo’s Chicken Karaage so much that we consider it as one of our ultimate comfort food. Well, now we think we’re having a change of heart after getting a taste of Ozen’s version. Their deep-fried Chicken Karaage is served with a generous mound of Cabbage Salad dressed with Japanese mayo for only Php 100. We usually order an extra cup of Japanese rice (Php 30) to come with our Karaage, since each piece of chicken is so flavorful and scrummy that it’s a total waste of good food if you don’t savor it with rice. 😉

Chicken Karaage

There are still a few dishes we haven’t tried in Ozen, like their Gyo Za, Oyako Don, Curry Rice, Katsu Curry Rice, and Nori Maki. But what we’re really looking forward to tasting is their Yakitori. Tokyo Tokyo has removed it from their menu, so I’ve been craving it for years that I even made my own version of Chicken Yakitori at home. Click on the link if you want to get the recipe.

We are so glad that we’ve discovered this small Japanese food haven right in our home town. We’ve even decided to include Ozen Japanese Food in our itinerary of food stops in the Malabon Food Tour that we would soon launch for The Burp Society. Make sure to keep an eye out for that! 😉

Our favorite Takoyaki from OZEN Japanese food

 

OZEN Japanese Food

  • Location: Kadiwa in Malabon City, near the billiard hall. We don’t have their exact address, sorry.
  • Website: www.ozen.ph
  • On Facebook
  • Branches: Malabon City (near Kadiwa St), but we heard they’re opening up a new branch in Bulacan
  • Operating Hours: 12noon til 1am (last order is 12 midnight)
  • Contact #: (02) 351-4727 (You can call them to place an order, but you need to go there to pick up your food)

The BEST Takoyaki we've ever had are from OZEN Japanese Food

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Kenneth is the chef in the family (he studied Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Art in GCHA). He's responsible for most of the more complicated recipes featured here, and loves preparing pastries and desserts. Aside from being a chef, he's also a Registered Nurse and Midwife. His love for cooking led him to pursue a culinary career.

Comments

comments

  • Toni Rose Tecson

    Hi, I’ve been there my sister introduced me to Ozen Malabon. She would eat there after having her wax session since it’s just a neighbor away from the spa. The food is really awesome, they have a super friendly cooks for an affordable price you would surely come back. I’m a takoyaki fan and since I tasted their recipe, I want to come back everyday! It is super sulit and what i like most in their takoyaki is it also have a crab meat inside. Should you try to eat their yakisoba, it is very delicious my daughter loves it (she’s mapili to foods and she loves noodles). Of course don’t forget to take home some from your loved ones. Anyway Ozen has another branch in SM sangandaan. All recipes at the same price. Hope to be there in Sunday and I’ll introduced it to my college buddies. 😀 Yum! Yum!

  • Triszois Knoire

    how do we get there if we are from monumento?? 🙂

    • Take the Malabon Acacia jeep from Monumento (there’s a queue near SM Hypermarket), then tell the driver to drop you at Kadiwa (yung me bilyaran). I’m not sure if everyone knows where that is, but you can ask around. It’s not a particularly easy place to find if you’re not from here, but the Malabon Acacia jeep passes right in front of Ozen. It’s on the right side.

  • Analiza Cando

    Sarap pala talaga. Busog na busog kami ng cousin ko .thanks for the info.

    • Mmmmm kagutom! Try their Chicken Karaage next time!! 🙂

    • Franz Faustin Ignatius

      sugoi! natikman q yung gyoza nila and takoyaki.. hmm totemo oisshii ne! will come back once again! de wa mata! 😀

  • That looks really sulit! pero ang layo!!! :))

    • Oo nga eh, sayang. Super sulit and masarap pa 🙂

  • AL

    Hi! Ozen is just a walk away from our house and when i got home from school i always pass by here!! I’m afraid to try their food bec. I’m not a fan of japanese food but thanks to your insight i might check it out sooner or later! Thanks! God bless!

    • Yay! We were ignoring them din before. Glad we’re able to convince you. 🙂 Let us know how you liked it ha? 🙂

  • alvinm

    San po malapit yung ozen??? Thank you!

    • Sa may Kadiwa, malapit dun sa me bilyaran dun. Tapat ng patahian ng mga basketball uniform.

  • Vincent

    you bet! kasalukuyang enjoying farm life right now.

  • jenjacqs

    Takoyaki is my fave. Sana mag branch out pa sila hanggang dumating dito sa Cagayan de Oro.

    • Sana nga. Pero mukhang Bulacan lang sila eh. And I don’t think mag-open sila for franchising kasi baka kumalat yung recipe nila.

      • jenjacqs

        Tama. Ganoon mostly mga family business eh. Some are not open for franchising. Ilalagay ko ‘to sa food list ko, baka makapunta ako ng Bulacan. 🙂

  • DestronLeader

    The most important thing is that there’s real octopus in the takoyaki. No mere pretenders shalt ever be considered takoyaki.

    • We agree! We just came back nga from OZEN and today, the Takoyaki had generous bits of octopus. 😀 Palakihan pa kami ni Ken ng nakuhang bits. 😀

  • Vincent

    sana mag start na malabon food tour at para maabutan ko sa pag uwi ko. 🙁

    • Aww kelan ang uwi mo?!

      • Vincent

        Next week na nga e. and will be there for 2 and a half weeks lang. i’ll just try to hit this place when i get home. more power to you guys!!

        • Aww sayang! We’re still on the planning stage kasi we need to coordinate with all the stops ng tour. Hope you enjoy your vacation here! Let us know pag natry mo na dito. 🙂

          • Vincent

            Will do!
            Oo nga! Maybe on my next trip back HOME!