Friday, February 9, 2018

Taste of Japan in Kuala Lumpur, with Master Chef Takuji Takahashi

From ramen to sushi to shabu-shabu, Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to Japanese cuisine.

Aiming to raise awareness and deepen understanding of Japanese cuisine among Malaysians, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recently held an exclusive experience session highlighting Japanese cuisine.

Held on February 5th and 6th February 2018, the event was attended by culinary arts students from YTL International College of Hotel Management, tutors as well as top chefs from hotels and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.

This one-and-a-half-hour sharing session offered guests the chance to learn about different cooking methods and ingredients revolving around Japanese cuisine as well as witness a hands-on cooking demonstration by Mr Takuji Takahashi, master chef and owner of the renowned 1-Michelin starred Kinobu restaurant in Kyoto, Japan.

As a Washoku ambassador, Mr Takahashi first shared about the various core ingredients in Japanese cuisine such as rice, miso, sake, soy sauce, konbu, dried bonito and mirin as well as about the different teas, vegetables, seafood and Wagyu that Japan is blessed with. It was informative and light-hearted, thanks to the humor injected throughout the session by the affable Mr Takahashi.

Next, Mr. Takahashi demonstrated four different recipes, starting with Inaniwa Udon, followed by Teriyaki Yellowtail, Tokushima Beef Grilled in Yuan Style served with sea urchin and Japanese-style paella with scallops. We picked up some useful tips from him, such as the correct way to slice Japanese vegetables, how to treat them after slicing, how to make a basic dashi broth and the correct way to wash your Japanese rice (and it was interesting to learn that Japanese picked their rice by brands, just like many do with their designer handbags).

Mr Takashashi also explained that the crockery the food is served in also plays a big part in Japanese cuisine, and some of the serving dishes that he uses in his restaurant are specially sourced, to enhance guests' dining experience. For example, the dish that the beef was served in costs RM2,500!

After that, two distinguised guests chefs, Mr Hideaki Oritsuki and Mr Cheong Cherng Long from one of KL's best Japanese restaurant, Sushi Oribe joined Mr Takahashi on stage to impart wisdom and to answer any questions the audience had about Japanese cuisine.

Finally, guests were invited to a tasting session of the dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed them and would definitely be recreating them at home, as most of the Japanese ingredients used during the session are easily accessible in Japanese grocery stores in Malaysia such as Isetan KLCC, Aeon Midvalley, Suzuki Shoten (Publika), Shojikiya (Sunway Velocity), The Village Grocer and Daiso.

Thank you to MAFF for having me!

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  1. These Japanese look as neat and clean as the food they present. :D

  2. Warghhh i need to have this! Looks so simple yet enticing


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