Right now the weather is still pretty cool and it's still nice to cozy up to a good bowl of soup. You might find a soup experience like no other at the recently opened Bijin Nabe restaurant in S Maison, Conrad Manila in Pasay, one that will surely satisfy the people who are into healthier food choices. Unlike before, today, many want to know where their food is being sourced from and whether ingredients are fresh and organic or not, and at Bijin Nabe, they are open to share with customers about where they source all ingredients for their dishes. Their feature dish is the Bijin Nabe soup which contains chicken collagen. It's like chicken soup for the body and soul elevated significantly with its very own special but not at all secret ingredient.
Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo is a restaurant from Japan that is also present in Singapore. The soup concept behind Bijin Nabe is inspiring and actually not as strange as it sounds. The whole experience is full of flavor and good for health as well.
Miyazaki Jitokko is a type of organic chicken from Japan, a prominent breed from which they bred the Jidori chicken that produces the "Golden Collagen." This form of chicken collagen abroad is made into gelatinous form and then once placed on your table is melted as a base for the soup featured in this restaurant. The collagen itself is imported from Japan but the chicken meat and chicken portions served in the soup are the best locally sourced meat available.
Quality Made BIJIN NABE P750 per portion of the soup feast (Minimum Order of 1 portion for every 2 pax). This served four of us but I would say a good portion was left over for one or two more people.
Then they serve the guests a tasting of the golden collagen soup on its own. The simplicity yet depth of flavor is obvious given the chicken flavor. You might end up telling yourself "So this is what real chicken soup tastes like..." for the very first time.
Some ground chicken meat is sectioned off into dumplings and left to cook in the broth and then the vegetables are added; picture taking before the vegetables are submerged is encouraged.
The central idea behind the restaurant's philosophy is the partaking of golden collagen chicken soup combined with organic ingredients for the sake of beauty and health and not just for dining pleasure. Chicken collagen has properties for treating arthritis and other joint issues (since it contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate which both aid in overall joint health). Chicken collagen can also be supplementary as well for skin health, the more collagen you have present in your body then you are less likely to have the onset visible signs of aging, like wrinkles.
The broth that results from the melting of this poultry base is delicious and given for sipping at the beginning of your Bijin Nabe feast. The Bijin Nabe soup feast is divided into four phases:
PHASE 1. They serve the chicken with the pure Bijin Nabe broth for eating. After melting the collagen and throwing in the pre-cooked chicken, the state of the chicken at this point is similar to Hainanese chicken in flavor but tastier since it is immersed in the Bijin Nabe broth.
PHASE 2. The first batch of vegetables that are cooked quickly come out and are portioned into the soup bowls. This includes the enoki mushrooms, lettuce, and the other leafy green vegetables that cook quickly.
PHASE 3. The second batch of vegetables that takes longer to cook come out for your third portion, this includes the cucumber, ground chicken dumplings, dark fungus (another type of mushroom), baby corn, cracklings, and the rest of the vegetables.
PHASE 4. One last way to try the Bijin Nabe soup in comfort food form and end the feast is with rice or noodles and an organic egg, the result is either porridge (with rice which is the more traditional way) or a yummy chicken and egg noodle dish.
The one notable appetizer before the Bijin Nabe feast was this simple thing, deep fried "Maximum Eggplant." So simple, crunchy, and lightly seasoned with Japanese spices on the outside, soft inside. It's the best way to introduce someone who has never tried eggplant before to the somewhat unpopular vegetable. On top of the satisfactory crunch, it partners well with sweet chili sauce. For dessert we had fried Japanese sweet potato with Vanilla ice cream. There are many more on the menu that are available to try.
Maximum Fried Eggplant (P180)
Fried Japanese Sweet Potato and Vanilla Ice Cream (P105)
Bijin Nabe was ushered into the Philippines by 24-year-old Alyanna Uy, President and CEO of Food Revolution PH. She shares that guests can expect the utmost quality of service from Bijin Nabe's Philippine staff who were sent to train in the Singapore branch before beginning service here. Alyanna also shares that the meat and produce brought in daily for Bijin Nabe locally is not frozen, only chilled so that the tenderness and freshness is not lost from the ingredients before service.
Many guests have already been spreading the good news about Bijin Nabe's extremely elevated chicken collagen soup. It is located on the 2nd floor of S Maison by the Conrad Hotel in Pasay. They have a Facebook page and Instagram account as well.
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Photography by author and from Bijin Nabe PH on Facebook