28 November, 2012

Restaurant Reviews - Japanese Dining SUN, A Kyushu Gourmet Experience

Located at the CHIJMES cluster of food and beverage establishments, Japanese Dining SUN, with support of Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) is proud to offer the Kyushu Gourmet Experience from now till 8 Jan 2013.

His Food Blog - Japanese Dining Sun

The Kyushu Gourmet Experience will introduce not only regional cuisine from the Kyushu prefectures of Miyazaki, Fukuoka, Saga and Oita, but also feature authentic ingredients air-flown in twice weekly (Tuesday and Friday, if you must know) especially for this menu.

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No Japanese meal would be completed without the starter of Sashimi – the Kyushu Sashimi Mori 7 Kind ($88.80) was an ensemble of Kyushu seasonal fishes including the Fatty Tuna (Otoro), Yellow Sea Bream, Horse Mackerel, Golden-eye Snapper, Striped Jack, Yellowtail and Japanese Sea Bream.

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Timely for HFB, it was a Tuesday when he went for this tasting session, thus it was expected that the fishes were really fresh and enjoyable. He was particularly drawn to the unique finishing taste of the Yellow Sea Bream and Golden Eye Snapper.

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With a close proximity to China, Kyushu cuisine is heavily influenced by Chinese culture and culinary techniques. Thus the introduction of Japanese Preserved Mustard Leaf (better known as Kiam Chye, or Salted Vegetables) in the form of the Mentai Salmon Takana Roll ($18.80) was of no surprise to HFB. Purists would probably frown at such a dish, while the adventurous would celebrate – as the preserved leaf left quite an interesting aftertaste. A hint of spiciness could also be experienced from the seasoned cod roe.

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The Kagoshima Mental Cheese Chigiri Age ($9.80), a fishcake of spicy seasoned cod and cheese would make a great finger food to pop over beer or sake. HFB only gripe would be the cheese wasn’t molten or oozy enough for his preference.

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Chinese influence was once again evident in the Fukuoka Kurobuta Gyoza ($9.80). The pot stickers were filled with cabbage, chives and garlic and pan-fried perfectly, but it was the highly prized Kurobuta Pork that shone through with its luscious finishing. HFB also found the texture of the skin just right – thick enough to hold the ingredients without breaking, but thin enough without being too chewy. A dunk into the dipping sauce and the orgasmic experience was completed. Definitely the highlight of the session and something one shouldn’t miss.

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A Kyushu delight that one definitely shouldn’t miss was the Miyazaki Wagyu Steak Ajikurabe ($88.80).

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Prepared Teppanyaki-style, the Japanese Grade A3 Miyazaki Wagyu Ribeye and Sirloin Steak was used as opposed to the more superior A5 grade, as Japanese Dining SUN felt it was a better balance between the marbling finishing and beefy aftertaste – since most Singaporeans found the A5 grade too greasy and oily for their liking! If you asked HFB, he loved them both as long as it’s well prepared… heh!

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One of the many food crazes now in Japan, Shiokoji is koji that has been fermented in salt (shio). And koji, or rice malt, is a live food that is rich in enzymes and brings out the umami in foods by imparting a rich savoury flavour. And thus the Shiokoji Moriawase ($15.80) was born – a meat platter consisting of Berkshire Pork, Chicken and Salmon. Although HFB found the meats to be slightly toughen (not too sure whether it was due to the marinating or the cooking process), there was indeed a sweet aftertaste evident in all of them. HFB preferred the chicken best as it kinda reminded him of “Drunken Chicken”.

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If you enjoy your noodles springy and Q like HFB, you would definitely fall in love with the Saga Nori Udon ($12.80), or the Cold Seaweed Noodle – even more enjoyable eating it when mixed with the condiments provided!

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Japanese version of the Lei Cha, or Thunder Tea Rice, the Fukuoka Kinmedai & Mentai Chazuke ($15.80) consisted of lightly grilled Golden-eye Snapper fillet slices with seasoned cod roe served with Green Tea Bonito soup.

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The rice used was imported from Japan and the texture was definitely apparent. HFB pretty much enjoyed the whole combination of quality rice, clear soup and fresh fish.

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Fukuoka Tonkotsu Takana Ramen ($11.80) was another creation using the Japanese preserved Mustard Leaf. The pork-bone broth was pretty robust with that hint of interesting finishing due to the mustard leaf, and high marks for the Char Siew that was grilled to perfection – really flavourful!

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The Oita Momo Jam Chiffon Cake ($6.50) was a really light and fluffy chiffon cake infused with Ripe Peach Jam and served with Homemade Vanilla Cream. HFB enjoyed the very moist cake and thought the vanilla and peach combination harmonised almost perfectly.

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Fukuoka Yamecha Roll Cake ($5.80) was a classic combination of Green Tea Roll (with Vanilla Cream Centre) served with Azuki bean paste at the side. A sure winner that would please everyone!

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What’s dessert without the accompaniment of a good cup of coffee or tea (or me)? The Fukuoka Yame Tea with Goma Cookie ($5.00), or the Premium Fukuoka English Tea was a perfect pairing that thoroughly helped to cleanse the palate and rid the grease from earlier dishes. The strong finishing was well appreciated and HFB also enjoyed the fragrant taste of the sesame cookies that came with it!

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But what’s a trip to SUN without sampling their signature Tofu Cheesecake. HFB remembered it to be just as good as he first tried it many years ago – great texture and light finishing just the way HFB loved it. A pity that it didn’t came served with the beautiful cage that is only unique to their Wheelock outlet.

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited media tasting. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Japanese Dining SUN and Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) for their hospitality.

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