For the past few months, I was busy working on my latest book so that I can deliver it in time and have it showcased at the 2017 Hong Kong Book Fair, which will open next week.
I had some anxious moments as thousands of photos that I had carefully gathered over the years nearly disappeared from an external computer hard-drive. You can only imagine my plight had I not failed to recover the images.
And then, of course, there were the long hours of fine-tuning the layout design and tedious proofreading of the content of the book.
Fortunately, all the work was completed successfully with the full support of the production house of the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
After such hard work, who took in a lot of brain juice, I decided to treat myself to a great big meal — a dinner of fine Japanese cuisine at Nine Seafood Place at Whampoa Garden, Hung Hom.
At Daimanzoku, the sushi bar, I learned that the eatery belongs to the same group as Nishimura Restaurant, a high-end restaurant chain.
I still remember the time when I visited chef Hiromi Nishimura 20 years ago. The style, ingredients and food quality of his restaurant were impeccable, but the meal cost me an arm and a leg.
I immediately flipped through Daimanzoku’s menu for the prices. To my surprise, they were up to 40 percent lower compared to those at Nishimura. I could only guess it was because they source their ingredients differently.
However, I was wrong. Both Daimanzoku and Nishimura are sourcing food ingredients from the same supplier, and the gap is simply due to different pricing strategies as the Hung Hom branch targets the middle class while the Tsim Sha Tsui outlet is up for high-end dining experiences.
Returning to the story on Nine Seafood Place, as the name of the seafood hub suggests, there are altogether nine Japanese restaurants under one roof.
At present, next to Daimanzoku the sushi bar, are Zeppin izakaya, a Japanese-style pub; Kaniyen, a specialty restaurant for fresh marine live crabs from Japan and many other countries; and Shota Sushi, a Michelin-recommended restaurant.
The most notable gimmick should be the cutting show of a bluefin tuna fish freshly delivered from Kyushu every Friday. Not only is it a show-off of the craftsmanship of the master chef, customers can also enjoy the fresh o-toro sashimi, the supreme cut of the fatty part of the tuna fish.
It is also a delightful scene of vibrantly fresh ingredients such as Japanese king crabs, Hokkaido sea urchin (enshui murasaki) and Korean abalones available on the market.
The starter of the night, tuna fish in aspic, initially won my heart. Yet, a cob of pure white corn from Hokkaido later secured all my attention. It reminded me of the days in the field of lovely produce in Hokkaido around a year ago.
For sashimi platter, it was a must to have o-toro, chu-toro and maguro, as well as live abalones and Japanese flounder.
I also ordered a sushi platter of mackerel, sweet shrimp, scallop and wagyu beef.
The teppanyaki of king crab was perfectly grilled and the meat came with an intense taste of umami.
The dinner was absolutely revitalizing, thanks to the skillful hand of the chef as well as the freshness of marine ingredients.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 12
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
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