I think it’s safe to say that Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisine when it comes to heading out to a proper restaurant. In fact, this is the 100th entry on Japanese cuisine on this space – and for this occasion we head to Bangsar and look at Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant.
Hana Tei, Lucky Garden Bangsar
If you’re from Kajang and Cheras area, you may have heard of Hana Tei before. This Bangsar branch is their latest venture into KL city.
Personally, I thought Lucky Garden (the same row with 3 famous kopitiam) is a pretty good location to be at. It is in Bangsar, and parking situation at the area is usually pretty good during dinner time, though lunch can be a bit challenging.
The menu for Hana Tei is actually quite extensive, covering the usual suspects such as sushi, sashimi, to teppanyaki, teriyaki, nabemoto, tempura, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Well, on our review session, we got to sample quite a few of these dishes.
shake sashimi (thick cut salmon)
We started the night with shake sashimi (RM 35), or thick cut salmon. You get 5 pieces of fresh raw salmon at I think at least 1 cm thick. It was glorious. I also do like the fact that they use proper grated wasabi to go with the salmon here. It was definitely a treat.
camembert cheese yaki, gindara foilyaki
Next up was something rather unique – Camembert Cheese Yaki (RM 15). Grilled Camembert cheese with baguette with a side of jam. I thought it was rather interesting and most likely will go very well with some sake.
Then there’s Gindara Foilyaki (RM 48), cod fish with mushroom wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked with a miso soup base. It’s not entirely unlike Chinese style steamed cod except with a Japanese touch & flavor. I thought it was executed quite well.
hana tei beef sushi
If you’re a sushi person, well, here’s some treats for you, starting with Hana Tei Beef Sushi (RM 25). Instead of raw fish like usual, you get Australian striploin with salmon roe and ebiko, all wrapping those sushi rice.
The combination works surprisingly well to be honest, I love the contrasting taste between the savory beef and the freshness and slightly salty nature of ikura.
foie gras sushi, hotate maki spicy sauce
Then there’s also the one of a kind Foie Gras sushi (RM 28). This is probably one of the cheaper ways to experience foie gras, and foie gras never disappoint. I can have 5 of these for breakfast if I get my way! I shouldn’t, but I want to!
If you’re a fan of scallop and spicy food, you can find that strange combination in Hotate Maki Spicy Sauce (RM 35). The roll comes with quite a big chunk of scallop in each of them and covered with this hot sauce that really gives the dish a kick. You definitely don’t need any wasabi for this.
A few weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to try out one of the more recent addition to our rich selection of food choices in Malaysia – mala steamboat, also known as Sichuan steamboat.
For this, we headed to Chuan Chuan Xiang at Sunway Velocity, the occasion being Henry’s birthday & SY was buying dinner.
chuan chuan xiang mala hotpot
For some reasons, Sunway Velocity sorta transformed to a mini-China in a way, over here you do find quite a few Sichuan hotpot restaurants often packed with customers from China (you can tell by their accents).
And if it’s good enough for them, it should be “ori” enough for us.
To start with, you choose one or two different soup base. The obvious choice is to go for a spicy and a non-spicy option to maintain sanity.
After bringing the soup to boil, you then add in whatever you pick from the open fridge – consisting of skewers of vegetable, meat, various different types of offal, and seafood. There’s also ingredients that come in dishes, including fish ball, pork belly, prawns, and even pig’s brain and duck blood!
can you spot the duck blood and pig’s brain?
There’s of course, a variety of condiments you can choose from, from different versions of sambal, to garlic, chili padi, fermented tofu, and more. There’s also a bottle of extra spicy chili oil on the table should you need to kick if up a notch.
The ingredients are fresh and of pretty good quality, with soup made of proper herbs and spicy, numbing mala pepper those Chinese guys really love. For me though, I thought it’s perhaps a little bit too spicy for me for the most part, so I ended up mostly using the non-spicy soup base more.
spicy mala soup + pork bone soup, Henry & Choulyin
Soup base is RM 39, meat at RM 19, pig’s brain RM 9, and the skewers are priced by weight regardless what they have on them (hence those has more ingredients than others).
Overall it was a pretty interesting experience, and worthy of a place to visit especially for a late night wake-up supper. They operate from 10 a.m to 2 a.m.
How time has passed, it didn’t seem that long ago that the iconic departmental store reopened in the heart of Bukit Bintang with a focus on premium Japanese products.
To make this occasion more special, the exclusive Japan Local Speciality Fair is held in conjunction of the 2nd anniversary celebration from Oct 26 to Nov 4, 2018 from 11 am-9 pm.
There’s also the Lucky Dip activity happening this period, with 1000 Fabulous Prizes to be won with minimum spend of RM 100 at Japan Local Speciality Fair.
Japan Local Speciality Fair – Oct 26 to Nov 4, 2018
Over this period, The Market, Lower Ground Floor, Isetan the Japan Store @ Lot 10 is transformed to a bustling market with 20 of the best Japanese food products and 7 sake brewers from 16 prefectures and a city directly from Japan to KL.
Head down to the lower ground floor and start with some eat-in menu and you’ll find the Aichi Speciality with Seafood Kishimen Noodle, served with shrimp, squid, and sugiyo (imitation crab meat made from cod fish), or try the Royal Caribbean with Crabmeat at RM 3 a piece. I did sample both as my “appetizer” for the night.
Aomori apple, with apple soup, apple jelly, ringo otome
As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and what’s better than fulfilling that quote with some Aomori apple flown directly from the prefecture that is famous for this particular fruit?
You’ll find different types of Aomori apple such as Hirosaki Toki & Horisaki Fuji at RM 17 a piece, or try the rather unique apple soup or apple jelee. There’s also ringo otome, or thin-baked cookie made with apples mixed in with flour and eggs, sort of an exquisite “kuih kapit” type of product. I love it.
black garlic from Aomori, Shizuouka Hon Wasabi, ramen
One of the other product that piqued my interest was the black garlic. Via the chemical reaction called “Maillard chemistry” between sugar and amino acid from the white garlic during the maturing process, the garlic became black and obtain its special unique taste. It is believed to have good antioxidant properties.
Jabara water, yuzu, ramen, grilled/smoked oyster
Then there’s also yuzu and jabara water for those who love the taste of these Japanese citrus, and if you like ready-to-eat oysters, they have these rather yummy grilled and smoked oysters in packets too, perfect with some sake or beer if you ask me.
No Japanese food fair is complete without proper green tea. Here the master serves up authentic version of matcha latte, houjicha latte, matcha kyo mukashi, iced macha using quality tea powder at RM 14 per glass. You can also purchase the green tea powder that won the 2015 Nihon Cha Award.
organic mirin, and a big selection of sake
Then of course, there’s sake.
There are a total of 7 sake brands represented at the Japan local Speciality Fair
Gassan Sake Brewery, Yamagata Prefecture
Shibata Brewery, Aichi Prefecture
Matunami Shuzo, Ishikawa Prefecture
Umetsu Shuzo, Tottori Prefecture
Nikki, Fukushima Prefecture
Chigonoiwa Sake Brewery, Gifu Prefecture
Sumiya Bunjiro Brewery, Aichii Prefecture
more selection of sake, cold or hot sake for you?
Whatever your preference, be it sparkling sake, sake that’s specifically brewed to be drank warm, or cold, or even mirin, you’ll find one that suits your taste here. The representatives from the brands are here to explain to you what their sake is all about as well.
various food at 4F The Table with Japan Local Speciality
Instead of buying the products to be enjoyed at home, you can also head up to 4th Floor The Table Restaurants to enjoy some of these products during this period.
We sampled the pork fillet with plum at Tonkatsu Anzu, avocado wasabi with Camembert cheese, sweet potato fries, grilled tai fish and octopus, and my favorite of the night – tai fish ochazuke. These are as fine quality as they come and priced pretty pretty reasonably as well. Of course, fittingly I washed it down with a glass of yuzu cocktail.
If you’re a fan of Japanese goodness, don’t miss out the Japan Local Speciality Fair at Isetan The Japan Store, KL
Lot 10 KL is one of the best places in all of KL if you are a fan of Japanese food, the lower ground floor the 4th floor of this building is home to some 2 dozens Japanese restaurants, serving up anything from shabu shabu, to omakase sushi.
Today, let’s look at one of their less glamorous outlets at Isetan the Japan Store’s supermarket section – Hirashima Sushi.
Hirashima Sushi, Isetan KL, Lot 10
Hirashima Sushi is basically the sushi counter for the supermarket, with an open chiller section not unlike many grocery stores in the city – offering pre-packed sushi/sashimi cuts to go.
What’s different at Hirashima Sushi is that they happen to also have a small sushi bar offering sushi bowls and selected nigri sushi (menu below), priced from RM 36 to RM 88 and comes with free flow green tea.
toro kaisen don – tuna belly, uni, ikura
Being a huge fan of toro (tuna belly), I went for the toro kaisen don (RM 88). The bowl of sushi rice comes with four slices of tuna belly, uni (sea urchin), and quite generous amount of ikura (salmon roe).
Quality wise it was rather decent, and definitely packs a punch above it’s asking price if you ask me. There aren’t many places you can have this sort of combination below RM 100. I was well satisfied.
hotate kaisen don, Elizabeth
My dinner date for the day, Elizabeth, chose the hotate kaisen don (RM 68), basically the same set with raw scallop instead of tuna belly. I had a piece of the scallop and was happy to say that it definitely did not disappoint.
I have a feeling I’ll be going back to this place again pretty soon.
Address: Hirashima Sushi Lower Ground Floor
Isetan the Japan Store Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758
One of my weekday breakfast spots is this little old food court by the intersection of Jalan Loke Yew and Lorong Loke Yew by the name of Restoran Red Leaf, or also called Restoran Shoong City (confusing, I know..), and truth be told, I’ve always gone there for their Penang prawn mee, which was as good as any you can find in Klang Valley.
While paying another visit a week ago, the prawn mee stall was on leave, which led me to look for alternative, and that’s how I ended up trying the Penang char kuih teow here.
char kuih teow stall at Restoran Red Leaf, Lorong Loke Yew
As usual, whenever ordering a dish claimed to be from Penang, I always “test water” by doing it in Penang Hokkien, and happy to report that the proprietor had no problem verifying that he is indeed from the dish is claimed to be.
I then ordered myself and Rich both a plate of duck egg CKT for breakfast.
The char kuih teow came with almost all the essential ingredients – there’re three pretty good size prawns, cockles, bean sprouts, chives, kuih teow, but instead of lap cheong (Chinese sausage), we have sliced fish cake, which is not uncommon in some versions of Penang CKT, tho I always prefer the former.
Additionally, the dish is also served on a sheet of banana leaf, which is always a good thing.
char kuih teow with duck egg
The CKT indeed tasted like it was one from up North, plenty of “wok hei”, and in fact, perhaps slightly overly so. I thought overall it was pretty good, with the exception that it was just a tad overcooked, especially with the egg being a bit too done to my liking (then again I love the runnier version of CKT like the one at no. 5 in Macalister).
Overall though, I thought this was a more than competent enough version of Penang CKT and for sure I’d be happy to return (and with the instruction of having it less cooked).
prawns and cockles are of good more than decent size
Addresss: Restoran Red Leaf No 61 & 63, Ground Floor Jalan Loke Yew, 55200 KL GPS: 3.129614, 101.711412 Hours: 7am – 12pm