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Category / Japanese

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.

Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10
Kogura Chicken Ramen, Lot 10

The good news is, we now have Kagura at J’s Gate Dining in Isetan KL.

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
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?
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.

Happy eating!

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
J’s Gate Dining
Level 4
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel:  03-2110 6850
Webwww.js-gate.com

KL has seen a bit of a boom in premium Omakase style Japanese restaurants of late, I’m no historian, but it probably started out with Kame Sushi at Hartamas, then came Oribe at KL, Sou at Mid Valley, Sushi Azabu, and more.

Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC
Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC

With the increase in popularity of these restaurants, and perhaps a bit of a dip in our currency, prices for a meal of omakase course has been increasing as well. I remember paying RM 88++ for an unforgettable lunch at Oribe when they first opened, but now you’ll be hard pressed to find anything below RM 200 per pax for such treatment. Which begs the question, is it worth it to spend RM 500 or more for a dinner for two? And will these restaurant sustain?

Anyway, the topic in this article is my experience at Sushi Ryu with their omakase course priced at RM 279++ per person, their other option on the menu is priced at RM 579++ per person, additionally, there’s a limited time menu with Michelin star teppanyaki from Tokyo at RM 1588++ per person.

In my experience, the cheapest option usually gets you the best value per dollar spent. I enjoyed myself almost as much when I spent 88++ at Oribe compared to RM 230++ course at the same place at a different time.

seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter
seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter

Our dinner started out fantastically.

Tai sashimi with copious amount of ebiko and truffle oil. It was fresh, delicious, and really opened up my appetite for more, I really enjoyed it.

otoro sushi
otoro sushi

Next was otoro as their seasonal sashimi dish. It was two slices of tuna belly served on a piece of rock with grated wasabi. The accompanying shoyu tasted pretty premium, but I thought the sashimi was average for this cut. It wasn’t better than the ones we had at J’s Gate opening event…

chawanmushi as our hot dish
chawanmushi as our hot dish

Seasonal hot dish came in the form of chawanmushi. It was quite a busy dish, with more ebiko and crab meat. Execution was really good and this was my second favorite dish after the appetizer.

seven pieces of nigri sushi
seven pieces of nigri sushi

Seven pieces of nigri sushi made up of our main and served in three separate dishes. The server did describe to us what they were but I can’t really remember their names.

They were also supposed to have already been properly “seasoned” with the right amount of soya sauce and wasabi. To be honest, I found these sushi to be average-to-good, but did not have the wow factor I expect for something at this price point. More than once I was hoping for soya sauce and wasabi, and the squid was actually too chewy.

miso soup, dessert
miso soup, dessert

Soup in the menu was miso soup, it was an average bowl of miso soup.

Most disappointing for me though, was perhaps the dessert. It was the Japanese version of ice cream sandwich topped with chocolate. Yes the chocolate was fine, but the ice cream could probably be had from Family Mart.

platinum park klcc map

Address:
Sushi Ryu
Platinum Park, KLCC
50088 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.155168, 101.718929
Tel: 03-2181 1533

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
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)
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.

tori camembert, gindara foilyaki
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
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
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.

wagyu teriyaki, hamaguri kimchi, seafood teppanyaki
wagyu teriyaki, hamaguri kimchi, seafood teppanyaki

Additionally, we also tried the Wagyu Teriyaki (RM 72), and while these are not the highest grade Wagyu beef, they do offer a pretty good value and tastes plenty good to me.

I would only recommend Hamaguri Kimchi (RM 22), or clam with kimchi sauce only if you need something spicy, I thought the kimchi base was OK but doesn’t really carry the aroma that I look for.

Seafood Teppanyaki (RM 38) though, is a dish that was well executed, give me a bowl of Japanese rice with this and I’m all good for dinner.

Overall I thought Hana Tei fills the gap at Bangsar area offering family friendly Japanese fair.

map to Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant, Bangsar

Address:
Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant
No.8, Lorong Ara Kiri 2,
Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.127546, 101.669614
Tel03-2202 1608
Web: hanatei.com.my

Isetan the Japan Store @ Lot 10 is turning 2.

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
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.

organic miso paste, dried pickled radish, hariharizuke (pickleed daikon)
organic miso paste, dried pickled radish, pickled daikon, konnyaku jelly

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
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
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
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.

green tea - matcha latte, houjicha latte, matcha kyo mukashi, iced macha
green tea – matcha latte, houjicha latte, matcha kyo mukashi, iced macha

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
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?
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 Tthe Table with Japan Local Speciality
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

For more info head their FB page.

#isetanthejapanstore #japanlocalspecialityfair

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, 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
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
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.

menu at Hirashima Sushi

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
Hirashima Sushi
Lower Ground Floor
Isetan the Japan Store

Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758