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.
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
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.