Sushi fit for warriors

Who would’ve thought that the terms “healthy” and “fast-food” could be used to describe the same restaurant? Today, these two seemingly opposing ideas come together as global sushi chain Wasabi Warriors launches its very first branch in the Philippines, at the heart of Makati City’s central business district.

Tagged as the healthiest sushi fast-food chain in the world, Wasabi Warriors formally launched its first Philippine outlet on May 6, 2015 at The Gramercy Residences in Century City, Kalayaan Avenue. 

Established in Sydney in 2007, the sushi chain is known for creating innovatively crafted meals and providing alternatives to the unhealthy fare offered by most fast-food chains and convenience stores. The brand currently has four branches in Australia, and also has outlets in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and soon the United Arab Emirates.

Although Wasabi Warriors’ signature is its line of healthy and creative sushi rolls, the restaurant also serves bento packs and bowls. The restaurant offers 12 different types of sushi rolls, all of which can be prepared using white, brown, red, or black rice. These sushi dishes were crafted specifically for Wasabi Warriors by Japanese sushi master chef Hideo Dekura.

All the dishes in the restaurant are prepared in-store daily. This is why the sushi offerings vary day-by-day. What makes Wasabi Warriors different from all the other sushi restaurants in the country, however, is the value it places not only on serving premium healthy and sustainable items but also on using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. 

Kimmi Siu Dewar

“We believe in supporting local farmers to ensure the sustainability and growth of the local food industry,” says Kimmi Siu Dewar of Swinging Chairs Establishments, the Filipino company that brought Wasabi Warriors to the country.

 As part of its recruitment program, the company collaborates with local youth organizations to help in the social and professional integration of young adults living in extreme poverty.

“Wasabi Warriors is also driven by its mission to provide excellent products while honoring and showing a deep respect for the environment,” Dewar notes. In fact, items on the restaurant’s menu that are not sold on the day go directly to charity or, in the case of fish leftovers, later made into compost and used as fertilizer. As such, Wasabi Warriors generates almost zero food waste.

“Wasabi Warriors’ operations revolve around its ‘green heart’ philosophy, which offers diners the chance to live by three intertwined tenets—to eat good, do good, and feel good,” Dewar stresses.

According to Dewar, to “eat good” specifically refers to eating fresh, premium food that is nutritionally beneficial for the customers’ well-being. In turn, to “do good” means supporting business practices that help the oceans, the earth, and the animals. “Feel good” refers to knowing that, when they eat at the restaurant, customers also help honor practices that are good for the environment.

Although Wasabi Warriors is globally known as a grab-and-go sushi spot, its first branch in the Philippines will have a dine-in area, a first for the global franchise. “Filipinos love to visit restaurants and this is why we believe that including a dine-in area in our very first restaurant here in the country will be a big boost for us,” Dewar says. “It allows diners to immediately partake of the food they ordered, in turn, allowing them to enjoy the true freshness of Wasabi Warriors’ dishes,” she adds.

True to its fast-food nature, Wasabi Warriors uses a specially made sushi robot that can make 500 rolls per hour and a rice mixer that automatically blends rice for the sushi dishes. The restaurant also has an open kitchen that allows guests to see the kitchen staff preparing the food.

Wasabi Warriors draws Inspiration from the Japanese Bushido, a warrior code which eventually became the basis for ethical training in Japanese society. Bushido literally means “the way of the warrior” and espouses respect, honor, and excellence—virtues that guide Wasabi Warriors’ daily operations.

Helping guide customers to “eat good, do good and feel good” are the five Wasabi Warriors brothers: Ocean, Beefy, Porky, Chicken, and Veggie. Each of the brothers personifies a different facet of Wasabi Warriors’ overall advocacy which is to honor the ocean, the earth, and animals.
“Here in the Philippines, every day can be a struggle to stay healthy. It can be a struggle to eat right, to resist temptation, and to stay fit,” Dewar notes. “And this is why there is Wasabi Warriors, to make eating better food that’s good for you, more convenient for everyone,” she adds.

“Not only that, what we serve is fresh quality food, prepared through ethical practices, using sustainable local ingredients,” she stresses. 

Indeed, Wasabi Warriors promises not only good food, but also the good feeling of knowing that aside from eating food that is organically healthy, one also does his share in the protection of the environment and the social integration of the marginalized youth.

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