10.030 Mako Karei Karaage


4 (Mon) February 2019

Mako Karei Karaage


at Seryna (Little Tokyo)


with RDE, HRS et al.

Almost exactly 10 years ago, on 24 January 2009, at the 124th Session of the WHO Executive Board at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, I had the privilege of witnessing Dr Shin’s appointment as WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.  I didn’t know then that I would be working for him 5 years later (see generally 5.005 Ki for Ki), at the start of his second 5-year term.  At the 144th EB last week, having served two glorious terms in office, he handed over the keys to his successor (more on that later) and thereby became Regional Director Emeritus.  If I’d been there, I might’ve cried a bit.  Today, first day on the job, the new WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific called a “town hall meeting” for all staff to describe his vision and pledge his commitment over the next 5 years, with his predecessor on hand for support.  Afterwards, a select few were invited to join the new RDE for a casual dinner before he goes back to Korea for a long and well-earned vacation (he bought a place in Manila, so he’ll be back).  While I’ve been called upon to serve in a quasi-official capacity to coordinate countless dinners for Dr Shin during my time here – always griping, but always thrilled to do so – I didn’t have any functional role here tonight, so I was truly honored to have been invited.  I was also present at the dinner in Geneva following Dr Shin’s appointment back in 2009, so what a perfect bookend to the story.  I’m so glad that I restarted GMTD, just in time to capture this moment.

At some restaurant on the evening of 24 January 2009 (1 year before the birth of GMTD, before I began documenting such critical details): [right] Dr Shin, [left] Dr Sohn (my mentor, then Executive Board Member representing Republic of Korea).
Tonight, when I showed him the photo above, he smiled and thanked me for being there, and for supporting his campaign, including to draft his campaign communications materials, especially the campaign brochure.  I was absolutely dumbfounded – until that moment, I’d thought that he didn’t remember me from that time, as I had done the work behind the scenes and never discussed matters directly with him.  In fact, I myself had forgotten about the brochure altogether, until coming across a copy of the brochure while organizing my stuff a few years back.  I set it aside to get an autograph, but couldn’t relocate it to secure an autograph before he left office.  Fortunately, he still has a few extra copies and promised to sign one for me.  RDE.

Subject to a few follow-up visits for confirmation, this may be the best Japanese restaurant that I’ve tried in Manila.  Apparently, everyone who lives in Makati is already in the know [eye roll].  First time for me [shrug].  With less than a month until our move to Makati, I’m a bit ahead of the game [wink].
The food, down to every last dish, and so many of them, was exemplary.  Fresh, expertly seasoned, expertly plated.  And frankly I don’t believe what they later told me was the final bill, but reportedly very reasonably priced.

The deep-fried aji was perfect.  Exquisitely tender and flaky pieces of flesh, lightly dredged in flour and delicately cooked in fresh oil (in the Philippines, some restaurants overuse their deep-frying oils, leaving an off-flavor).  Best of this kind of thing that I’ve ever tried.

The gift that keeps on giving – meat = good, bones + skins + fins = better!
Toro Hokke (3.5) – grilled half-dried Hokkaido fish, a-w-e-s-o-m-e.
Shima Aji (3.5) – labeled as “mackerel” on the menu, though clearly not, in any case lean yet somehow richly umami, somewhere between tuna and yellowtail.

4 thoughts on “10.030 Mako Karei Karaage

  1. what a historic and touching episode..! many mixed feelings crossed my mind…
    and oh, the new ‘try every item’ project?!
    wish you a happy new year!

      1. you seemed to be interested in the restaurant…so i thought you would start the ‘try every item at serina’ project when you move to makati (or hoping that you will start the project?!)…;; anyway, you are going to move to makati? why?

      2. Ah, TEIS would be fun. However, “Try Every” projects are exceedingly difficult these days because of family commitments. Also, Seryna is quite far from our new place. Finally, the Seryna menu is so extensive that it would take forever. I would now only launch a new TE project if I could possibly finish it in 10 visits. But thanks for the suggestion! (Another reader had proposed Try Every Item at Din Tai Fung, which I also declined.)

Leave a Reply