While the breath of Japanese cuisine kept advancing in Malaysia, there’s a segment of this food that alienate majority of the population here in Malaysia. See, you can find sushi, sashimi, and yakotiri that are suitable for most everyone to consume for the most part, but when it comes to proper Japanese ramen, the pork free or halal version proved to be a bit of a challenge to locate.
Kagura Chicken Ramen is hailed from Tokyo with the name of Seimenka Kaguraya, and even back in Tokyo, the recipe has always been pork-free and lard-free. Rare but still pretty popular at the same time.
There’s a selection of different soup base and ingredients, ranging from RM 12.88+ to a maximum of RM 22.88+. When it comes to proper Japanese ramen at these type of set up, I’d say they’re very competitively priced.
While the base is chicken, there’s a choice of shoyu, miso, and “rich” soup. They also serve gyoza, fried rice, and a limited choice of tempura (menu below)
Kagura Chicken Ramen
So how do they taste like?
We tried the “rich” and shoyu ramen together with their dumplings, and I gotta say that the soup base rivals the pork based ramen, with a slightly less greasy note. They also did a good job with the chicken base chasiu, but I do feel that the texture of pork chasiu is still superior. Overall though, this is a more than decent version of ramen that certainly did not make me regret having it for sure.
The dumpling though was sort of average, I guess perhaps it’s the lack of fatty bits that failed to bring it to my expectation.
fancy some dumpling to go with your ramen?
Skip the dumpling unless you are way too hungry, otherwise, this ramen is fit for anyone who loves ramen, even if you’re not specifically avoiding pork for whatever reason.
Pretty much all of us has done the two following things:
visiting 24 hour convenient store
visiting 24 hour makan places
What if I told you that now, there’s a place where you can have both of these in one place? The wealth of choice offered by convenient stores, as well as a good selection of ready to eat hot food and chilled drinks at an always open location with comfortable seating area. Now wouldn’t that be a great concept?
KK Concept Store at Bukit Bintang
Well, welcome to KK Concept Store where you find exactly that.
I was invited to the opening of this brand new concept at the very first KK Concept Store at Bukit Bintang to see what it is all about, and from the first impression, I think this is offering exactly what many of us didn’t know we needed.
packs with over 4-5000 items to choose from
So how is this concept store differ from the 400 outlets of “regular” KK Super Mart?
Well, to start with, there’s going to be many ready-to-eat and fresh food offered at the concept store – from premium satey sauce with kangkung, asam pedas oden, hainanese chicken chop, chicken rendang bento rice, to pao and even siu mai.
fresh food with proper seating area and even massage chairs
Additionally, heading upstairs you’ll find over 1000 square feet of dining/seating area with free wifi, power outlets, and even clean toilet, much like a proper cafe would. Interestingly, there’s even a couple massage chairs as well (I use these a lot especially at mall/airports)
the people behind KK Group, including CEO Datuk Seri Dr KK Chai
On the opening day event, we were treated with a curated lunch expertly arranged by Eunice, and everything you see on the beautifully presented table are from food item available at this KK Concept Store.
The group aim to open another 40 more such KK Concept Store by 2020, which each outlet strategically located at both residential and high traffic area. I need one to be near me!
CEO Datuk Seri Dr KK Chai, Taste Test, Eunice & KY
From 20th to 22nd July, 2019, there’s a Buy 1 Free 1 promotion on all food item at B Cafe, and subsequently a 20% off all Bento sets from 23rd July till 11th August, 2019. The promotion will continue with 20% off all make-to-order sandwiches from 12st August till 31st August, 2019.
If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you should know about J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 KL – a concept that is unlike any other when it comes to Japanese cuisine offering in Malaysia. As one of those fans myself, I was glad to be invited to the launch event and be one of the firsts to get a taste of what this place has to offer.
J’s Gate Dining, Level 4, Lot 10 KL
J’s Gate Dining is located on level 4 of Lot 10 in Bukit Bintang. Head up the escalator now and you’d see 18 different Japanese restaurants taking up almost the entire floor space offering various different types of Japanese cuisine,centered around the concept of authentic Japanese cuisine and services.
J’s Gate Dining launching, Lot 10 Level 4
The grand opening was officiated by Mr. Makio Miyagawa, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia and Mr. Joseph Yeoh, Vice President of YTL Land & Development Bhd and YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn. Bhd., together with Mr. Naoki Yokoyama, Executive Officer of Sojitz Corporation, Chief Operation Officer of Retails & Lifestyle Business Division.
The opening ceremony is followed by a carving session of a 40.8 KG cultivated Bluefin tuna specially air flown by Sojitz Corporation all the way from Japan. We were then served the fatty tuna in the form of sushi after the event, and I may have returned for more than a few servings!
Bluefin tuna carving demonstration
J’s Gate Dining is separated into two “sections”, with one side a food court type of set up offering all pork free Japanese dishes, and another section with individual restaurants, some with non halal dishes.
Here is the list of restaurants:
Seafood rice bowls
Fuji no Sakura
Eel rice bowls
Traditional Kyoto cuisine
Umai Sushi Kan
On the same evening, a few of us were also invited to an exclusive tasting session to sample dishes from some of the restaurants at J’s Gate Dining. In the span of some 2.5 hours, we managed to visit these five restaurants:
Umai Sushi Kan – Sushi restaurant (pork free)
Umai Sushi Kan offers sushi & sashimi, perhaps the most familiar type of Japanese food for many of us. Again we got to have more of that cultivated Bluefin tuna sushi & sashimi, simply heaven. The rolls were pretty on point as well.
Torikin Yakitori (non halal)
Next up was Torikin Yakitori. There’s a good selection of different skewers to choose from, from chicken tail all the way to pork belly, priced at RM 4 to RM 7 per stick. These makes for some really good beer food.
Kushiage Kinme – deep fried skewers (non halal)
If yakitori isn’t your cup of tea but you still love things in skewers, hop over to Kushiage Kinme. Over here you get fresh ingredients deep fried with light batter in skewers. There’s prawns, quails’ eggs, pork, and even asparagus, my favorite is gindara (cod).
I highly recommend some cold sake with these, which was what we did.
Hachi Traditional Kyoto cuisine, we had waygu beef here (pork free)
If you prefer traditional Kyoto cuisine, Hachi could be your destination of choice at J’s Gate Dining. We sampled the wagyu set here that came with wagyu steak, roast beef, wagyu cutlet, bulgogi, roast vegetable, and rice, miso & edamame. A complete meal that should satisfy any beef lover.
Vito Cafe & Gelato (pork free)
Our fifth and final stop for the night was Vito Cafe & Gelato, where we had a sweet ending to the day. Vito also serve coffee in addition to gelato.
The name Isetan The Japan Store is often associated with very high end products as well as rather expensive price tags, but thankfully when it comes to their lower ground floor food offerings, the quality is still there, minus the overly crazy price tags.
The other day I took a detour and check out one of their many food stalls house within the departmental store’s grocery area and checked out Shoya Sushi Bar.
Shoya Sushi bar, at Isetan the Japan Store, Lot 10 KL
Shoya Sushi Bar takes up only maybe some 100 sq. foot of area and offers a relatively small menu consists mainly of sushi platter, hand rolls, and sushi don. A sushi don is priced from around RM 26.50 (Special Bara Chirashi Don) all the way to RM 90 (Omakase Shoya Kaisen Don), with nothing exceeding 3 digit price point.
We tried the Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don (RM 35) which came with four pieces of raw salmon as well as another four pieces of tempura salmon on a bowl of sushi rice. The salmon tempura required a little getting used to (slightly soggy texture), but the raw seafood was pretty fresh and tastes rather good.
Salmon and Salmon Ten-Don
I also decided to try one of their more expensive options on the menu – Chef’s selected sushi (special) priced at RM 85.
What came was a collection of sushi that really is right up there with some of the more expensive Japanese restaurants in terms of quality. There’s fatty tuna, tuna, squid, ikura, amaebi, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, and tuna belly roll. I felt that this offers quite a good value despite its asking price.
Chef’s selected sushi (special)
If you find yourself in Bukit Bintang craving for some good sushi, this place should be in your short list.
Address: Shoya Sushi Bar Lower Ground Floor ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2141 7777
Of the five restaurants recently opened at Isetan The Japan Store’s 4F The Table, Sushi Azabu would be the one that has the most prestige. An offshoot from the Michelin star restaurant from New York, Sushi Azabu promises authentic and intimate dining experience in its 40 seat set up.
Chef Saito, Sushi Azabu at Isetan The Japan Store KL
We sampled a 5 pieces of sushi from Chef Saito Makoto Sam during the launch and came away impressed. So a week after the event, we decided that a proper meal at Sushi Azabu was required.
The course menu here consists of three choices – Koi at RM 120 will get you appetizer, 10 pieces of sushi and miso soup. The Azabu course at RM 220 that promises the following:
2 kinds of sashimi
Nigiri 7 pieces
Or you could go all out with the Omakase menu for RM 420 and let the chef decides what you should have for dinner. Obviously, we went for broke.
nasu nibitshi – fried eggplant
So these are the dishes we had for dinner on the 1st of March 2017 off the Omakase menu at Sushi Azabu.
Nasa Nibitshi was our appetizer, a deceptively simple dish consists of fried eggplant in some very light broth/sauce and topped with finely shaved bonito flakes. Light with very subtle flavor, it does the job well to leave us wanting for more.
sashimi – kampachi, tai, aji
Next was sashimi in the form of kampachi, tai, and aji; or yellow tail, sea bream, and horse mackerel. The quality was top notch, and somewhat surprisingly our favorite was the horse mackerel. The freshly grated wasabi too was a treat in itself and we wasted none of it.
Chawanmushi was our next dish, the version here is simple, no fuss, but very well executed.
grilled Spanish mackerel
Grilled Spanish mackerel came next, we thought that chewing this together with the pickle yield the perfect combination of flavor that simply explodes in your mouth. This was a very well seasoned traditional dish.
stewed sword fish
Stewed sword fish came next, a dish that is new to me. The fish is topped with a piece of starchy cube that compliments this savory dish quite well, though I felt that perhaps the sophistication of this dish escapes me. Someone with more experience in Japanese cuisine will probably enjoy this more than me.
firefly squid with sweet miso
Then came the cutest dish of the night – firefly squid with sweet miso. A perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory taste that is further accentuated by the freshness of firefly squid, this was one of my favorite non-sushi dish of the entire course.
The main dish was of course, sushi, and we got ten pieces of these goodness in the form of chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper, striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, and raw prawn.
At Sushi Azabu, they take the guesswork out of eating sushi. Chef Saito expertly apply the perfect amount of soya sauce on each piece, as well as the appropriate amount of wasabi his experience hands deemed worthy of the sea bounty. So you simply just.. eat, no dipping into the saucer or fiddling with wasabi, grated or otherwise.
sushi – chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper,
striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, prawn
The result was an experience worthy of the asking price. Each piece was perfect, and each offers an expression in some of the bests Japan has to offer. We thoroughly enjoyed and if I say I don’t miss it as I am writing this, I’d be lying.
miso soup & yuzu shaved ice
A relatively simple bowl of miso soup with prawn head helped wound us down, and we concluded the dinner experience with a simple dessert of yuzu shaved ice.
menu at Sushi Azabu KL
If you’re a sushi lover, this is surely a place to check out. I think I’m going to be back to try their more affordable menu one of these days.
Address: Sushi Azabu The Table, Level 4 ISETAN The Japan Store KL Lot 10 Shopping Mall Jalan Bukit Bintang GPS:3.146462, 101.711758 Tel: 03-2119 2624