March 1, 2024

Late lunch at Bonifacio Global City found us at the Venice Grand Canal Mall which was reminiscent of the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel and Casino. But unlike its counterpart in Macau, the gondoliers at BGC do not sing O Sole Mio or other Italian songs while navigating the manmade canals. The tour around the canal made us gravitate towards Hashi, the restaurant on the canal.

The Pan Asian Cuisine that Hashi prides of crosses over Vietnam, China, and Japan. Hashi which is what chopsticks are called in Japan and a puzzle game using bridges presents a complex menu of flavors from this part of the world.

The Vietnamese grilled chicken rolls present chicken fillets surrounded by fresh julienne cucumbers, carrots, and jicamas wrapped in soft rice paper. This is dipped in peanut sauce or a sweet spicy vinegar dressing. The finely chopped coriander gives this the Vietnamese charm.

Mandarin chicken salad had a bed of fresh lettuce slices of cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, Mandarin orange slices, crispy fried battered chicken breast slices, topped with caramelized onions. The refreshing Mandarin dressing that has the sweet orange flavor with a hint of sesame gave this preparation a taste of China.

Ebi katsu is a different look of shrimp tempura. The butterflied shrimp dipped in batter instead of tempura flakes was a surprise. The sweet-sour dip enhanced the shrimp flavor.

Yaki soba was delightfully Japanese too. Chicken and shrimps were used as the meat base of the stir-fried fine noodles. The fine slices of bell peppers and the slices of pickled ginger were unique. This was sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Of course, Hashi mix ramen was important as the taste of Japan. The noodle soup was rich and creamy and comforting as part of late lunch. The bean sprouts gave this a crispy texture in some parts. The slices of braised pork were tender, and this blended well with prawns and squid slices. The green onions gave this soup a zesty tinge of spice.

The curry chicken was a surprise in its presentation. The curry sauce was poured over the rice instead of the chicken simmered in it. The crispy fried battered chicken fillet was sliced. A side of fresh lettuce salad with a vinaigrette dressing made this rice dish complete. The curry was the Indian influence in the meal.

The feast filled us on our way to eating the dessert along NLEX on our way home. That is another gastronomic delight.

The funny thing about the Venice Grand Canal Mall eating episode was looking for something that was not Italian. It could have been checking out something different about it. But in the Venetian Casino and Hotel in Macau, it had everything Chinese and only the Italian dressed live mannequins and gondoliers were expressions of Italy. – Nonnette C. Bennett