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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / bento

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a short weekend trip to Johor by some blogger friends. I gotta admit that I’m absolutely not familiar with the food scene in JB, having only been there a few times mainly for work where mobility for meals is pretty restricted.

October Japanese Restaurant, JB
October Japanese Restaurant, JB

Our first destination of the trip was October Japanese Restaurant, located near Mount Austin, a more upscale area in Johor Bahru. The restaurant is a converted residential unit with nice lush lawn and plenty of parking spots at the back.

While we may still be in December, October Japanese Restaurant already came up with their Chinese New Year dishes, and we were lucky enough to sample some of them.

Prosperity “Yee Sang” Assorted Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce
Prosperity “Yee Sang” Assorted Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce

We started out with the Prosperity “Yee Sang” Assorted Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce (RM 68/RM 108 nett) that came with generous slices of – Norwegian Salmon, Maguro (Tuna) and Hamachi (Yellow Tail). They’ve also added fried Gyoza Skin and Roasted Almond Flakes to give the dish more crunchiness. A good alternative to consider for your “lou sang” session.

Auspicious Flaming Nabe
Auspicious Flaming Nabe

Then there’s the Auspicious Flaming Nabe (RM68.80 nett), with Norwegian Salmon and chicken breast mixing in with Shitake mushrooms, leeks and carrots to make a pretty sweet tasting miso based soup. Generous amount of “KaoLiang” Rice Wine and sake were used in this pot as well, which contributes to the whole flaming spectacle.

Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter, maki
Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter, maki

For those who likes it raw, there’s the Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter (RM58.80 nett). The dish is beautifully presented on a wooden platter and came with rather generous amount of fresh seafood including Maguro, Hamachi, Unagi, and Salmon.

We also tried the Flaming Salmon Aburi Maki (RM29.90++), with salmon and special crab stick plus spicy sauce.

Grilled Edamame, October Special Bento, Kushiyaki Moriawase
Grilled Edamame, October Special Bento, Kushiyaki Moriawase

Grilled Edamame (RM9.90++) is a good starter if you like your edamame with a kick, which I think will go really good with beer.

For those who likes bento, October Special Bento (RM59.90++) is a worthy option and comes with a little bit of everything, including salmon sashimi, unagi, and more.

And if you like it grilled, Kushiyaki Moriawase (RM44.90++) comes with scallops, Shitake Mushroom, Enoki Niku Yaki and other greeneries on skewers, and you’ll also find bacon in this platter as well, which makes this one of the few non-halal Japanese Restaurants in JB.

 

map to October Japanese Restaurant, JB

Address:
October Japanese Restaurant
No. 6a, 1, 8, Jln Jaya Putra 3/15,
Bandar Jaya Putra,
81100 Johor Bahru, Johor
GPS1.574499, 103.776892
Tel011-1426 5993
Hours: 12pm – 11pm daily

Almost 4 years ago, I went to Tokyo as a stranger in strange land. The city was so packed with people it felt like rush hour at LRT station at all times. The language was incomprehensible, fashion was weird, everyone was so courteous and everything was uber orderly.

I arrived there at late March partly to coincide with the Hanami season (viewing of cherry blossom, or sakura). A friend had to reserved a spot at Ueno park from a night before just so that we get to picnic under the trees at the most famous hanami spot in Tokyo. We had loads of fun (despite my inability to communicate with most of them), it was an experience.


iketeru Japanese restaurant at KL Hilton

With that experience, I knew exactly what Hanami meant when Jean of KL Hilton contacted me for a food review at Iketeru for their Hanami Bento promotion. As to what would be in the bento, I had absolutely no idea.

I’ve heard good things about Iketeru, but this was the first time I went to this Japanese restaurant located on the 8th floor at Hilton. As you would expect from a 5-star hotel, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and has a very nice ambiance.


shrimp, octopus, and tempura, sea bream & tuna sashimi

Anyway, lets get on with the Bento.

There were nine dishes in all on the rather big bento box. As a rule of thumb, you should always start with dishes that are more subtle before moving to the stronger tasting ones. This applies to all sorts of cuisine and not just Japanese food.

The Tai (sea bream) and Toro (tuna belly) sashimi were of the finest quality and served with grated wasabi. That opened up my appetite pretty good.

The shrimp, green bean, egg custard, and octopus were very delicious too, but that little bowl of marinated something next to the shrimp (I couldn’t quite remember, a type of seafood it must be) was a bit too strong tasting for me, I’ll place that in the “too authentic” category. The small portion of tempura were just nice, and includes one of my favorite items, the Japanese pepper.


spring chirashi sushi, chilled sesame bean curd, teriyaki trout

The chilled sesame bean curd with bonito soya sauce tastes as exquisite as the way it was presented, and I love the little bowl of simmered bamboo shoot, eggplant, and especially the Japanese yam too.

The only grilled item on the bento was the teriyaki trout, and while trout isn’t exactly my favorite fish for grilling (I love salmon belly), this was rather good too.

Spring Chirashi Sushi serves as the main dish. I could taste plenty of tuna, ikura (salmon roe), amaebi (sweet shrimp), and even mushroom and a bit of vegetable in it. Very good combination.


nanohana blossom (vege), soup with bamboo shoot, mochi & fruits

The unsuspecting plate of vegetable is actually boiled nanohana blossom with mustard sauce. Nanohana has the unfortunate name in English as “Rape”, it tasted similar to “kai lan flower” but smoother and more refined.

Instead miso, we had clear soup with bamboo shoot and seaweed, subtle tasting, but a very good way to cleanse the palate before moving on to the final item, dessert, which consists of  mochi with red beans that tasted as good as it was presented, and some fruits.


KY & chef Ricky Kamishi, Li Zhi & Jean from Hilton

Chef Ricky Kamishi joined us for a while and told us about the idea behind this Hanami Bento. I shouldn’t bore you with the whole experiencing “four season” through food and philosophies like that, but the guy is cool, and with a sense of humor too.

The bento is available all throughout March this year as some of the ingredients are seasonal. Priced at RM 220++ per box, it might come across as a bit steep for the common salary earner, but that is pretty much average for something of this quality and setting.


KL Hilton is located right next to KL Sentral

These shots were taken with my aging and pretty bulky SLR, Olympus just launched their latest micro four third camera – the Olympus PEN E-PL1 which combined the portability of a compact and prowess of an SLR. I’m gonna be getting one for review, but in the mean time, check out their microsite at evolvewitholympus.com.my

Address:
Iketeru Japanese Restaurant
8th floor, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.135331,101.685762
Tel: 03-2264 2264

Don Don Japanese Take Away is a little restaurant located at the heart of Melbourne City that serves the cheapest and fastest Japanese food. This place is also a favorite for Mell‘s housemate Jun Wei.

The restaurant is the size of a small apartment living room with less than half a dozen tables and at least half a dozen staffs crammed into the kitchen area. Efficiency is what they are best at.

Don Don Japanese Take out at Melbourne
Mellissa at yours truly at Don Don

As I sat down the table at the corner with Kerol while Mell went to order our food, a waitress came by and said to me “You’re KY right? I read your blog, and you’re Kerol.”

That was quite a surprised to me and Kerol, and I should have taken a picture with the waitress but she went missing into the kitchen instead. So if you’re reading this, HELLO and NICE TO MEET YOU. 😀

Don Don Japanese at Swanston Street, Melbourne
Sashi Don (salmon) and Don Don box (beef sukiyaki & chicken teriyaki)

The menu at Don Don is anything but extensive, there are only about half a dozen choices to pick from. We got the Sashi Don and Don Don box for about $8.30 each set. The other selections on the menu include chicken teriyaki, beef sukiyaki, and curry don.

The most amazing thing about Don Don is speed, there is practically zero waiting time. Order the food, pay, and collect. You actually get the whole bento within 2 minutes, faster than most fast food restaurants.

Map to Don Don Japanese at Swanston

The $8.30 salmon set had quite a large portion of salmon sashimi on top of sushi rice, and some other condiments, the fish were actually rather fresh and it tasted pretty good. The Don Don box came with a portion of beef sukiyaki (minus the soup), chicken teriyaki, rice, salad, and a slice of watermelon. A very good value.

While the food at Don Don is not to be compared with the higher end Japanese restaurants, they are cheap, very fast, and offers excellent value. If you’re looking for a quick fulfilling meal at downtown Melbourne, you wouldn’t need to spend more than 25 minutes in total at Don Don.

Address:
Don Don Japanese Take Out
321 Swanston St, Melbourne,
VIC 3000, Australia

GPS: -37.810375,144.964004
Tel: 03 9662 3377

One of my favorite places for take-out, ready-to-eat food is the Isetan supermarket at KLCC. Some of you might have read about the sushi and the Hokkaido Fest bento. But if you are one of those who aren’t exactly into raw food just yet, there are other choices too, such as various types of rice bowls, onigiri, bbq meat, and so forth.

Unadon & Soft Shell Crab from Isetan
appetizing, no?

Now I love unagi (grilled eel) and soft shell crab, and Isetan supermarket has them on the shelve. At RM 16.90 for unadon (unagi, rice, egg) and around RM 5 for a big size soft shell crab, this isn’t exactly an economical solution for a take-out lunch, but the taste doesn’t dissapoint. Do know that you can ask the staff to microwave the rice bowls before paying. This way you can have it ready to eat even if your office doesn’t have a microwave, or that you want to eat in the car, by the fountain at the park, or in the LRT (don’t get caught).

Unadon & Soft Shell Crab from Isetan
crabs… yumm..

The unadon is made with proper Japanese rice cooked sticky, like how they’re supposed to. A layer of onion egg with light dark sauce, half a grilled eel on top, and a couple slices of pickled radish on the side to complete the bowl. The taste was pretty good, on par with most restaurant offerings, though you must be careful to not overheat or underheat them in the microwave. As for the soft shell crab, well, it tastes like how you would expect soft shell crabs to taste like.

Unadon & Soft Shell Crab from Isetan
not exactly cheap, but. .

If you are new to Japanese food and don’t want to humiliate yourself and (possibly) your wallet in a nice Japanese restaurant, give these take-outs a try.

GPS: 3.157581, 101.712102

So I went up to Isetan supermarket again to get myself some lunch to go. It was a big mistake, Hokkaido fest was in full swing, and being a Japanese food lover, it can only mean that my pocket is going to get terribly lighter.

Hokkaido Fest at Isetan
just look at them sushis and bentos!

There were all sorts of offerings from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, synonym to great Japanese seafood in the culinary vocabulary. The little area next to the 3rd floor escalator of Isetan were packed with quite a large selection of Sushi, Sashimi, dried fish, scallops, fried seafood, cakes, and even Doraemon’s favoritte, dorayaki

Hokkaido Fest at Isetan
bestest office lunch

Being a huge fan of both Ikura (salmon roe) and Hotate (raw scallop), I just couldn’t help it when noticing the perfect combination on display. After the battle of taste buds vs financial sanity. The raw sense scored a stunning defeat over logical sense and I happily paid RM 39.90 for a take-away bento.

The stuff was very very good, scallop was sweet and juice, and there were 3 whole scallop in the serving. 2 of them raw, and the remaining is lightly cooked/marinated. The portion of ikura was generous and tasted like how ikura should be, slighlty salty, terribly oily, and absolutely juicy. The bento was easily one of the best I had from anywhere.

If my memory serves me correct, the fest runs until the end of the month and won’t be back again until the next year. Tempations, tempations….

GPS: 3.157581, 101.712102