• WASABI WARRIORS

    Fighting for locally sourced ingredients

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    Besides the regular white rice, the sushi chain will also offer other varieties including black and brown rice all sourced from Philippine farms

    Besides the regular white rice, the sushi chain will also offer other varieties including black and brown rice all sourced from Philippine farms

    A proudly Australian brand serving quality Japanese food, made with fresh Filipino ingredients.

    This is the unique formula and promise of fast food chain Wasabi Warriors when it finally opens its first branch at the Gramercy Residences in Century City, Makati come March.

    Established in Sydney in 2007, Wasabi Warriors has since been known in Australia as a sushi chain with the tagline, “Eat good, do good, feel good.” With its success Down Under, a Filipino company by the name of Swinging Chairs Establishments Inc., led by business development manager Kimmi Siu Dewar, decided to franchise the deliciously positive chain in the Philippines.

    On January 28, Dewar hosted an exclusive food-tasting event for the media ahead of Wasabi Warriors’ grand opening. And just like its counterparts from Sydney, the Chinese-Australian business introduced a “green heart” concept for Wasabi Warrior Manila.

    Nigiri sushi topped with seafood, chicken, pork or beef

    Nigiri sushi topped with
    seafood, chicken, pork or beef

    “The whole story is based around sushi with a green heart, and what that really means is for us to know where the food we eat comes from—local and sustainable sources,” Dewar explained. “And when you eat good, you know you are doing good for the environment and the community. You just can’t help but feel good.”

    She then added another aspect where the “green heart” concept allows the restaurant to give back to the community, “Anything that we don’t sell during the day, we give to charity [at night]. Anything that we can’t give to charity such as fish, which are not good for charity for legal issues are used for compost.”

    The green entrepreneur shared that she decided to bring Wasabi Warriors to the Philippines—the first business venture of Swinging Chairs—to fill a gap in the market.

    “I’ve been in the Philippines for two years and I realized this need for fast and convenient food that not only tastes good but is also healthy. And because I know that Filipinos are already fond of Japanese food, I thought of bringing the grab and go [concept]to Manila, in contrast to the usual sit-down Japanese restos.”

    Inari is a tofu pocket filled with rice or seaweed

    Inari is a tofu pocket filled with rice or seaweed

    According to the Chinese-Australian businesswoman, these grab-and-go sushi kiosks are found in “every corner” in Sydney, where people eat while on the move. Adapting to the Philippine market, however, she incorporated a dine-in feature to the kiosk concept.

    Sourcing locally
    Of all the good things that Wasabi Warriors does for environment and its community, Dewar’s favorite is sourcing local produce and ingredients, even if she admits it is both a challenge and an advantage at the same time.

    When asked by The Manila Times how she found the right suppliers for the sushi chain, Dewar replied that she met with local farmers—some hailing from as far as Mindanao to nearby Tagaytay City—to find the right ingredients.

    “We traveled far and wide in the Philippines backed with a lot of prior research to find the best quality produce for Wasabi Warriors,” she proudly said. “Because we use local produce from local suppliers and farmers, I can guarantee that everything’s fresh and made daily in our kitchens.”

    Dewar also noted that she finds the Philippines to have the best rice varieties, all of which she will feature at the resto. Sushi will therefore come in red, brown and black rice varieties apart from the usual white rice.

    “We know that rice is part of the Philippines’ diet. You can’t live without rice, and neither can I, but here, I would like to Filipinos healthier alternatives,” she enthused.

    Besides the rice, Dewar also proudly enumerated that their sourced vegetables, pork and beef are all organic, their poultry free range, and their tuna and salmon caught via friendly fishing methods.

    Swinging Chairs Establishments Inc. business development manager Kimmi Siu Dewar (right) is the franchisee of Wasabi Warriors in the Philippines. With her is a training manager from Australia

    Swinging Chairs Establishments Inc. business development manager Kimmi Siu Dewar (right) is the franchisee of Wasabi Warriors in the Philippines. With her is a training manager from Australia

    Taste matters
    Looking at Wasabi Warriors’ menu, one would be surely be surprised over its simplicity and affordability.

    According to the Wasabi Warriors website, the fast food chain’s sushi and other delicacies are crafted by Japanese sushi master chef Hideo Dekura. His profile said: “The Master’s journey began in 1944 in Yotsua, Japan. His father owned several restaurants in the region and when the young Dekura was ready, he began his sushi training.

    “Master Chef Dekura learnt the principles of sushi and kappou-ryori food preparation, cooking and presentation that had been passed down through many generations of his family. After years of cooking and demonstrating in Japan, Europe and the USA, Master Chef Dekura settled in Sydney.”

    For Wasabi Warriors, Dekura crafted simple sushi rolls with tuna, teriyaki chicken, pork katsu, fresh salmon, panko prawn, and teriyaki beef among others; or nigiri sushi topped with fresh or seared salmon, or fried ebi. He also prepared other specialties like inari rolls, or tofu skin filled with rice or vegetales, miso and udon soup, and rice boxes.

    And although Dekura specially crafted a menu for Wasabi Warriors, Dewar clarified that the sushi chain is not “chef-intensive.”

    In fact, their sushi rolls are even made by a sushi robot, which results to consistency in shape and quality. “With the sushi robot, we are able to make 500 sushi rolls in just an hour. This is what allows us to be a grab and go [restaurant],” Dewar said.

    Even rice, sugar and vinegar are all mixed with a giant mixer, which will all be on view for diners with Wasabi Warrior’s open kitchen.

    As for affordability, expect sushi rolls that are priced between P100 to P150, while snacks including gyoza, seaweed salad, and miso soup are priced from P50 to P150.

    “This is what Filipinos want now. They want fresh, good food that is fast at affordable prices,” Dewar ended.

    For more information, visit wasabiwarriors.com.ph.

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