Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory will rescue you from holiday gift shopping

What you need to know about Japan's favorite confectionery shop, opening soon in Manila. Happy holidays...and you're welcome.
IMAGE Jason Mariposa

It was a very confusing moment for cheese around this time last year. After a study in the University of Michigan published the allegedly addictive qualities of cheese, the media pounced and by October 22, 2015, everyone was reporting on how cheese was just like crack. A week later, the same media outlets clarified that, well, everything was essentially click-bait. Yes, cheese does have something called casein, which, when broken down, releases casomorphins, which, in turn, has some sort of addictive effect, but no, it's not exactly conclusive. The fact of the matter is, we're back to what we already know in the first place: cheese is a yummy thing. Whether or not it's like drugs, we don't know, but we like it.

There might be, however, some truth to that addiction conclusion. The only analysis we did was to look at the ripped foil packets and empty boxes of Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory. One of Tokyo's most beloved confectionary shops is coming to Manila at the end of November. So to those blanking out on their Christmas gift ideas, you're welcome. 

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory is one of those brilliant, simple, I-wish-I-thought-of-that things. Their catalogue mostly consists of cookies inspired by classic flavors from other countries. There's Porcini and Gouda, Salt and Camembert, Honey and Gorgonzola, and Basil Tomato and Mozzarella. Whichever flavor you choose is a perfect display of subtlety and balance. They're light enough to get you absolutely hooked. 


Restaurateur Bryan Tiu (Wafu, Chiba, Peri Peri Chicken) was looking to develop a new segment in the food industry. With restaurants and food halls nearly stretched out of their potential, he looked into another angle: gifting. 

"We have that habit," says Tiu, who's establishing the local shop with constant collaborator Dominic Hernandez. "We always buy mga pasalubong, so why not bring that here? [Gifting], we feel, is underserved here." 

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory is particularly alluring. In Japan, all the stores are spread out only in the capital, making it extra special and emphasizing that "souvenir" feeling.  

Tiu, in fact, has been teasing Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory cookies for some time now, making it sporadically available in his Japanese convenience store Konbini. And with Japan being one of the top tourist destinations for Filipinos, it already has a built-in buzz. 

The original Teriyaki Boy founder, whom Hernandez describes as "Japan's Golden Boy," was particularly strategic with his move. "We have very talented chefs here, so I wanted to make sure that what we're bringing in can't be easily replicated." While biscuits and crackers are easy enough for even the most callow of homecooks to make, it takes a certain level of finess to come up a bite-sized cookie that causes a minor addiction problem. Whichever flavor you choose is a demonstration of expressive yet mellow flavors. The milk they use is from Hokkaido, and it contributes to that delicate depth. 

Tiu plans to open big with two branches—SM Mega Fashion Hall and Greenbelt 5—simultaneously on November 18. A box is set to retail at P580.

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Early next year, Tiu and Hernandez will also introduce Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory's sister franchise, LeTAO. Once exclusive only to Hokkaido and based on that same amazing milk, LeTAO's specialty is frozen Japanese milkshakes. The two-layer cake features a soft, modestly tart sponge below a smooth, ice-cream-like mascarpone topping. 

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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