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Head East for a feast at the SM Malls

By Adam Laurena Published Oct 11, 2022 6:00 pm

While enjoying the train ride inside one of the coaches of the LRT-2, you suddenly hear a grumbling sound in your tummy. Realizing you haven’t eaten lunch yet, you decide to join the passengers getting off at Santolan Station before the train door closes.

As you exit the station, you find jeepneys going to SM Marikina and Rizal. Touted as “foodie havens in the East,” SM’s offerings satisfy everyone’s food cravings, whether it’s Filipino, Japanese, American or Korean dishes. By the time you get off the jeepney, you feel your hunger intensify.

Check out these food establishments at SM Malls in Marikina and Rizal.

A Japanese family treat

Botejyu started in 1946 in the gourmet neighborhood of Tamade, Osaka, Japan. Founded by Eikichi Nishino, the restaurant prides itself on serving authentic Japanese cuisine for over 70 years.

The restaurant made waves in the Philippines back in 2016 when it tapped Viva International Food & Restaurants Inc., a subsidiary of Viva Group of Companies owned by entertainment mogul Vic Del Rosario, Jr., as a franchisee and area developer.

Botejyu prides itself on serving authentic Japanese cuisine for over 70 years.

“Our brand is fast growing. We’re going to end 2022 with 57 stores, and we’re celebrating our sixth year already,” said Cy, local store marketing manager at Botejyu Philippines, in the restaurant’s SM Marikina branch.

Their best sellers include pork tonkotsu ramen, prawn tempura, takoyaki, California roll, and many more.

“Name it! Every Japanese favorite that you like, you may enjoy here in Botejyu Philippines,” Cy added.

Botejyu’s Holiday Feast is available from September to January 2023.

As the holiday season approaches, Botejyu Philippines introduces its “Holiday Family Feast”—six food bundles that highlight the resto’s best sellers into one feast. Prices start at P1,545.

“We are bundling together your Japanese favorites to make the holiday season even merrier,” Cy enthused.

The Holiday Family Feast is available from September to January 2023.

A casual Filipino dining experience

Satisfy your craving for local dishes at Calle Reyes. Founded by Francisco “Frank” Reyes, the same man who started Reyes Barbecue, the establishment honors the legacy left behind by his maternal grandmother Engracia “Aling Asiang” Cruz Reyes, and his great grandmother Luisa “Luisang Kare” Garcia Cruz, who are both known as kitchen goddesses.

Calle Reyes, which opened its first branch at SM City Marikina, is home to the best barbecue in town.

Frank describes Calle Reyes as a casual-dining heritage, street-themed restaurant “where Manila-style barbecue reigns supreme.” Moreover, it combines the specialties of Reyes Barbecue with the traditional dishes of the Reyes clan, plus modern Filipino comfort food with a twist.

“Calle Reyes takes you down memory lane with authentic, homestyle Filipino cooking, while allowing you to enjoy the classic, time-tested savory taste of Manila-style barbecue,” Frank said.

Indulge in homestyle Filipino dishes at Calle Reyes.

Bestsellers include the All Star Platter, which consists of grilled squid, grilled liempo, and pork barbecue; the Whole Boneless Chicken Barbecue; the Crispy Pata Plaza; the Kare Kawali; and many more.

Calle Reyes opened its first branch iat SM City Marikina in January 2020 and will soon open at least three more locations within the year.


As seen in your favorite K-dramas or Instagram feeds, Korean egg drop sandwiches will make one’s mouth water. Made with bacon, cheese and a mayo-based “egg drop sauce” with either fluffy scrambled eggs or a runny sunny-side-up egg, it’s all caked in a nice brioche toast.

Egg Stop is known for its egg drop sandwiches in brioche toast.

The popular South Korean snack has inspired other local food businesses to create their own versions, using a variety of sauces, meats and toppings. And it is definitely worth trying out, especially if you are a fan of eggs and breakfast sandwiches.

Egg Stop in the food court of SM City Marikina is one of the many places where you can try these popular sandwiches. Marco, the branch’s manager, recalled the story of how the egg drop sandwich shop came about.

Best-sellers include Korean Chicken Egg Drop Sandwich and Hungarian Sausage Egg Drop

Nag-start siya sa San Fernando, Pampanga and, ’yong may-ari, naisipan niya nag-expand siya ng mga branches sa Metro Manila,” he said.

Egg Drop’s best-selling sandwiches are the Korean Chicken Egg Drop Sandwich, Hungarian Sausage Egg Drop, and the Premium Beef Bulgogi Sandwich. They also offer other flavors like the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich, the Egg Salad Sandwich, and the Double Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwich.

Delicious twists and turns

After stuffing your stomach with a wide array of dishes, perhaps you would like to stop by Auntie Anne’s for a little merienda?

Have a taste of a classic American snack at Auntie Anne's

Kristine, the relieving manager of the pretzel chain’s SM City Marikina branch, said their best sellers include the Almond Chocolate Cream Cheese Stix and Almond Pretzels, which are always a must-try when you come to Auntie Anne’s.

Moreover, they offer drinks like brewed coffee, old-fashioned lemonade, and iced tea to quench your afternoon thirst.

Avail of the Twist of 3 promo—get one pretzel, one box of cheese stix, and one Chocnut Pretzel Twist for only P250—at Auntie Anne’s.

“For Filipinos, we offer the best snacks for the afternoon, serving you different variants of pretzels and drinks,” she said.

At present, they offer the “Twist of 3” promo where customers can avail of one pretzel, one box of cheese stix, and one Chocnut Pretzel Twist all for the price of P250, saving customers as much as P60.

Feel at home

Starting out as a small hometown restaurant in Escario, Cebu back in January 2013, Kuya J Restaurant grew into a nationally recognized brand two years later, known for its home-cooked Filipino dishes with a unique touch.

Diners feel at home at Kuya J.

“When you say Kuya J, isa siyang bida ng salo-salo. Kapag nagpunta ka kay Kuya J, you feel very at home, you feel welcome. ’Yon naman talaga ’yong objective ni Kuya J. Maging bida ng salo-salo,” said Jules Monterola, marketing officer of Kuya J Restaurant, when asked to describe the establishment, which is famous for its crispy pata.

Ang tumatatak talaga sa mga tao is the crispy pata. Kahit saan ka magpunta, ’pag tinanong mo kung sino si Kuya J, ang sasabihin agad nila ay ’yong crispy pata,” she said.

Kuya J is known for its crispy pata and halo-halo. Also try the Bida Mamen.

Other best sellers include the grilled scallops and halo-halo.

For the fourth quarter of the year, Kuya J Restaurant released the Bida Mamen, a dish combination of Filipino mami and Japanese ramen. It comes in two variants: the Spicy Chicken Mamen and the Pork Mamen.

“It’s a Filipino and Japanese fusion and we do the Japanese way of making soup,” chef Jem Palcis of Kuya J Restaurant’s SM Masinag branch said. “The directive came from our heads. They wanted something new and exciting for Kuya J, that’s why we have our mamen.”

Elevating the Filipino taste

In 2013, Aldrich Villareal opened Marison’s, a Filipino restaurant, in the city of Antipolo, Rizal. Now, as they enter their 10th year in business next year, he invites everyone to have a taste of their authentic yet unique dishes.

“We are here to elevate the panlasang Pinoy. Our food is not the traditional Filipino food but it’s a fusion and, at the same time, a familiar taste,” the owner and vice president of Restaurant of Operations said.

When in Antipolo, dine at Marison’s.

When asked what their restaurant is known for, Aldrich suggests first-time customers try the Crispy Tripe Kare-Kare, which contains one of the staples in Antipolo.

“The sauce is made from cashews because we are from Antipolo. The tripe, on the other hand, is deep-fried and crispy because it has undergone certain processes to make it crispy,” he said. “From the beginning, that’s our flagship product.”

Their other best-sellers include the Sinaing na Buntot ng Tuna, Crispy Pata, Sinigang na Salmon Belly, Halo-Halo, and Mais Con Yelo. This month, they will also be launching their Filipino-style spaghetti which will be free for children for a minimum purchase.

Marison’s kare-kare is a must try.

“Every menu that we have here in Marison’s is different from what we Filipinos know traditionally. We don’t have any lutong bahay. We incorporate certain methods and ingredients to elevate the Filipino taste,” Aldrich explained.

“Our food tastes unique, it has its own character. Once you eat it, you will know it’s from Marison’s because it has this distinct taste profile flavor and texture. We made sure that our food is different from what’s being offered by our peers and competitors,” he added.

A trip around the world

Starting out as a small stall in a food park in Provident Village, Marikina, Passenger Seat, an airport and airline-themed restaurant, first expanded into a restaurant in Aquilina Street and Riverbanks in Marikina before setting up their third branch in SM San Mateo in Rizal. The theme was inspired by owner Mariae Franco Habijan’s dream of becoming a flight attendant.

Passenger Seat is an airport-themed resto at Riverbanks in Marikina.

’Yong owner po kasi, dream niya po maging flight attendant. Sa kasamaang palad po, hindi niya po na-meet ’yong requirements po and naisipan na lang po niya na tuparin ’yong dream sa isang restaurant po at eto na nga po ang Passenger Seat, isang airplane-themed restaurant,” Mark Alvin de Belen, store supervisor of Passenger Seat in SM San Mateo, said.

He added the restaurant is well-received by families and friend groups for their Boodle Flights, a platter of food named after and containing food from different provinces in the Philippines.

Savor these mouthwatering appetizers such as chicken wings, nachos, and fries at Passenger Seat.

Ang pinakalaki naming Boodle Flight po ay ‘yong Wow PH. It consists of chicken inasal, liempo, lechon kawali, buttered shrimp, daing na bangus, grilled stuffed squid, sinagang sa miso, kare-kare, laing, and sisig. The dish is complemented by salted egg, eggplant, okra ensalada with two pitchers of iced tea,” he said.

Other Boodle Flights include Davao, Palawan, Batanes, and Siargao, which can serve a minimum of two people and a maximum of five people.

Check out Passenger Seat’s themed Boodle Fights.

For the lone eater, Single Flights are also available, namely Bacolod (Chicken Inasal, Ensalada, and Rice), Cebu (Grilled Liempo, Ensalada, and Rice), and Ilocos (Lechon Kawali, Ensalada, and Rice).

Passenger Seat also serves a wide array of international food, naming them after different countries around the world.

Relish the different tastes of pasta from around the world at Passenger Seat.

Their best sellers include pasta dishes such as France (pasta in homemade salsa red sauce with shrimp and squid in special seasoning; Rome (pasta in creamy white sauce, bacon, ham, and mushroom in special seasoning); Italy (pasta in olive oil with minced and pressed garlic, red chili flakes, mushroom, bell pepper, and shrimp); Palestine (chicken wings in homemade butter cream sauce); Kyoto (chicken wings in homemade teriyaki sauce); and New York (wings in homemade Buffalo sauce).

Other dishes are Mexico City (nachos with homemade salsa, beef, sauce with tomatoes, onions, and torched cheese), Oklahoma (twister fries), and Belgium (sizzling brownies with Uncle D’s special ice cream).

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Editor’s Note: BrandedUp is designed to provide you with insightful, inspiring and educational content created by PhilSTAR L!fe in collaboration with brands like SM Supermalls.