Ja­panese & Korean

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - PENANG -

Ja­panese

Aji No Ren Ja­panese Restau­rant

98-G-35, Jalan Fettes (04 899 4720).

While most Ja­panese restau­rants in Malaysia mimic Ja­panese decor only so far as to in­ject the at­mos­phere with a tinge of Hokkaido (by way of a tatami mat or two), Aji No Ren looks to tra­di­tional Ja­panese houses for in­spi­ra­tion. They’ve even taken it so far as to re­nounce the use of chairs for one sec­tion and have their pa­trons sit on the floor in true Ja­panese fash­ion. Food-wise, there’s a good range of bento boxes, sushi and sashimi. While wait­ing for your or­ders to ar­rive, you can browse through the Ja­panese comics on the shelf by the cor­ner.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Tue–Sun, 12noon–2pm & 6pm– 10pm. $$$

Azuma Ja­panese Restau­rant 2F-87 (South Zone), Queens­bay Mall, 100 Per­siaran Bayan In­dah, Bayan Lepas (04 641 3118).

Hav­ing joined the in­flux of Ja­panese chain joints nearly two years back, Azuma has ben­e­fit­ted quite a lot from the un­wan­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the kait­en­zushi (con­veyor-belt sushi) restau­rants, and the trend doesn’t seem to be dy­ing down any time soon. Amongst the many fran­chises of this sort of restau­rant in Malaysia, Azuma finds it­self some­where in the mid­dle range, char­ac­terised by spa­cious, classy seats and af­ford­able prices. Sweep­ing dishes off the belt onto your ta­ble may be the fastest way to get your food, but or­der from the à la carte menu for Azuma’s larger and more popular dishes – the shake tataki maki, the una cheese maki and the eringi but­ter abalone.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Kids’ menu. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 11.30am– 10pm. $$$

Edo-Ichi Ja­panese Cui­sine G-05 & G-06 Is­land Plaza, 118 Jalan Tan­jung Tokong (04 890 3199).

Edo-Ichi, a rel­a­tive new­comer to Pe­nang’s al­ready sat­u­rated Ja­panese din­ing scene, has some­how, by be­gin­ner’s luck or by virtue of its good food and good at­mos­phere, man­aged to thrive un­der com­pet­i­tive cir­cum­stances. The place is of­ten filled to the brim – as it should be, with its unique decor (aquar­ium by the ta­bles) and qual­ity Ja­panese fare: the dragon roll (sushi with crab meat and un­agi), the grilled sal­mon belly and the una cheese maki. With top-notch food and a sleek, mod­ern in­te­rior, it’s no won­der that Edo-Ichi at­tracts as many cus­tomers as it does.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Mon–Thu, 11am–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm; Fri–Sun, 11am–10.30pm. $$$

Fu­rusato

413 Jalan Burma, Pu­lau Tikus (04 226 2577).

In di­rect con­trast to the Ja­panese restau­rant chains that have in re­cent years been in­vad­ing Pe­nang’s din­ing sphere, Fu­rusato doesn’t sport the sleek, re­flec­tive, black shine that most of the oth­ers have come to adopt. In­stead, its decor is in­flu­enced by the home­li­ness and cosi­ness per­son­i­fied by the tan-coloured wood and slide doors that are so of­ten found in or­di­nary Ja­panese homes. There is a shelf of Ja­panese books and comics that you can browse through while wait­ing for your food to ar­rive. And if you’re keen on hav­ing some­thing spe­cial, in­stead of the usual ben­tos, dial in be­fore­hand and or­der a serv­ing of sea urchin.

Tues–Thur 5.00–9.30pm, Fri–Sat 5.00–10.00pm, Sun 5.00–9.30pm. $$

Matsu Lone Pine Ho­tel, 97 Batu Fer­ringhi (04 886 8686/www.lonepine­ho­tel.com).

Matsu (mean­ing pine in Ja­panese) is the only restau­rant along the touristrid­den side of Batu Fer­ringhi Beach. Matsu ex­em­pli­fies lux­ury in all as­pects – its food, its ser­vice, the pre­sen­ta­tion of its food and its decor. The restau­rant is adorned with tall glass win­dows and chic black sur­faces that lend it an air of el­e­gance. Its must-tries in­clude the ko­hit­suki miso yaki (grilled lamb cut­lets sea­soned with miso) and the Yaki­mono, Matsu’s sig­na­ture char­grilled dish.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 6.30pm– 11.30pm. $$$

NEW Mi­raku First floor, G Ho­tel, 168A Per­siaran Gur­ney (04 229 8702/www.mi­rakurestau­rant.com).

Sport­ing a sim­ple, el­e­gant de­sign, Mi­raku of­fers Pe­nan­gites a true Ja­panese fine-din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Opt to sit Tatami-style in a pri­vate room, or take a seat at the bar for a front row view of the chefs as they pre­pare your food. Don’t miss out on their kobe beef steak, served with deep-fried fries and stir-fried bean sprouts, broc­coli and car­rots. The juicy, suc­cu­lent pieces of beef are so ten­der they’ll lit­er­ally melt in your mouth. Or or­der the Sashimi Mo­ri­aware, with a wide se­lec­tion of freshly im­ported sashimi such as prawn, sal­mon, tuna, scal­lop and oc­to­pus. For dessert, try their wasabi ice cream – the sweet­ness of vanilla mixed with the heat of home­made wasabi will give a tan­ta­liz­ing fin­ish to your palate.

Daily, 12noon–2.30pm; 6pm– 10.30pm. $$$

Restoran Yosen­abe 763 Jalan Sul­tan Azian Shah, Bayan Lepas (04 644 1196).

Yosen­abe trans­lates, quite lit­er­ally, as ‘put to­gether in a pot’, so it is fit­ting that Restoran Yosen­abe is a steam­boat restau­rant. The dif­fer­ence is that Yosen­abe chooses to pro­vide smaller, in­di­vid­ual pots for each diner, in­stead of the usual com­mu­nal pot – an ef­fort at be­ing more hy­gienic. Of course, this takes away the sense of ca­ma­raderie one gets from throw­ing in­gre­di­ents into a shared pot, but for those who are wary of spread­ing germs, Yosen­abe’s con­cept is a god­send. Es­pe­cially note­wor­thy are its seafood boat (a set con­sist­ing of fish­balls, tiger prawns, bean­curds, squid balls and so on) and its mut­ton slices.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Sat, 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–10pm; Sun, 6pm–10pm. $$

Shinju Tei Ja­panese Restau­rant 39B Jalan Can­ton­ment (04 228 8853).

It might be tempt­ing to be­lieve you can’t have a de­cent Ja­panese meal on a bud­get, but then a place like Shinju Tei comes along. Its food is con­sid­er­ably cheaper than most of the other Ja­panese restau­rants and, ar­guably, on par in terms of the qual­ity. Some of its sig­na­ture dishes are its pork katsu curry and its shake don (rice with raw sal­mon slices and prawn roe). The com­pro­mise that comes with en­joy­ing good food at good prices is that Shinju Tei has, in­evitably, kept afloat by not spend­ing too much on its decor; so if you value good taste and cheap prices over am­bi­ence, Shinju Tei should be at the top of your list.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11.30am– 2.30pm, 6pm–10pm. $$

Soba Yoshi First floor, Block 303 Krys­tal Point Jalan Sul­tan Azian Shah, Sun­gai Ni­bong (04 646 8650).

Widely ac­knowl­edged as one of the bet­ter Ja­panese restau­rants in Pe­nang, Soba Yoshi is es­pe­cially favoured by Ja­panese ex­pa­tri­ates, with the staff’s flu­ency in Ja­panese be­ing a sure con­tribut­ing fac­tor. Span­ning Soba Yoshi’s ex­ten­sive menu are bento sets, tep­pa­nyaki sets, sushis, bev­er­ages and à la carte items. Stand­outs in­clude the nabeyaki soba udon (hot clay­pot noo­dles with prawn tem­pura, egg and vegetables), soba yoshi bento (as­sorted sashimi and sushi, cold soba, tem­pura, un­agi, shi­take ya­sai itame, chawan mushi and miso soup), and the sukiyaki

tei (sliced beef or chicken, vegetables and bean curd in a sweet sauce).

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 11.30am–2.30pm, 6pm–10pm. $$$

Su­mida Ja­panese Restau­rant 93-G-23A Prima Tan­jung, Jalan Fettes (04 898 2126).

The in­te­rior and ex­te­rior of Su­mida isn’t par­tic­u­larly fancy; in fact, it’s a bare, ba­sic (al­beit suf­fi­ciently com­fort­able) imi­ta­tion of the Ja­panese tatami-style seat­ing with clas­sic wooden pan­els and wooden ta­bles. Su­mida more than makes up for it, how­ever, in the qual­ity of its food: Its menu boasts the usual Ja­panese fare, but of the high­est qual­ity and fresh­ness. The sig­na­ture mo­ri­awase matsu (a plat­ter of seafood sashimi) and the su­rume ika bata-yaki (grilled gi­ant squid) may be pricy, but well worth it, given the high stan­dard of the food served.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Wed–Mon, 12noon–2.30pm, 6pm– 10.30pm. $$

TAO Cui­sine 1820-f1 & 1822-f1, Jalan Perusa­haan Au­toc­ity, North South High­way, Juru In­ter­change, Prai (04 501 7826); 1-0105 & 1-01-06 ground floor E-gate, Le­buh Tunku Kudin 2, Gel­u­gor (04 658 7826/www.tao-cui­sine.com).

TAO Cui­sine of­fers a Ja­panese al­lyou-can-eat buf­fet that dif­fers from the rest in that you aren’t ex­pected to leave your seat at all; the menus are brought to you, where­upon you can or­der the à la carte items to your heart’s con­tent. There are more than a hun­dred items to choose from, rang­ing from the must-or­der sashimi deluxe (raw cut­tle­fish, tuna slices and sal­mon) to the lamb chop to the grilled cod­fish. The por­tions are cus­tomised based on the num­ber of peo­ple in your company, but try not to be greedy – food wastage will be billed at a rather high price.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon–4pm, 5.30pm–11pm. $$$$$

Korean

Chou Shun Kan Korean Restau­rant

B 303-01-06, Krys­tal Point (04 644 1161).

The prim­i­tive char­coal stoves aside, the con­cept of Chou Shun Kan isn’t for­eign – DIY Korean Bar­be­cue with plates of raw, mar­i­nated meat, which you can grill over the stove in­stalled into each ta­ble. There are var­i­ous choices of dif­fer­ent pack­ages com­pris­ing a wide range of in­gre­di­ents – be it mar­i­nated chicken, pork, duck meat, Kobe beef or many oth­ers on the list. In a con­sid­er­ate ges­ture, Chou Shun Kan has in­stalled fume ex­trac­tors over each ta­ble so that cus­tomers don’t have to come out reek­ing of bar­be­cue smoke; it also pro­vides chew­ing gum after the meal for breath fresh­en­ing.

Mon–Sat, 11.30am–2.30pm, 6pm– 10.30pm; Sun, 6pm–10.30pm. $$$

Dao­rae Korean BBQ Restau­rant 15-2-D Bayan Point, Medan Kam­pung Re­lau (04 640 2616).

Dao­rae shouldn’t be a for­eign-sound­ing name to ar­dent fans of Korean bar­be­cue, although it’s only in re­cent years that Dao­rae has crossed over the wa­ters that sep­a­rate Pe­nang from the rest of the penin­sula, to open an out­let on th­ese shores. The decor of Dao­rae is as stan­dard as it gets, save for the some­what men­ac­ing tubes that de­scend from the ceil­ing and stop short of the ta­bles. Don’t worry, they’re fume ex­trac­tors – they pre­vent the smoke from the bar­be­cue from form­ing a haze over the restau­rant. Take your pick from the menu and the servers will come around to cook them for you.

Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Daily, 11.30am–3pm, 5.30pm–11pm. $$$

Kim­Chi BBQ Korean Restau­rant 2C Jalan Tan­jung Bun­gah (04 899 7032).

Un­like the more es­tab­lished Korean bar­be­cue chains, Kim­Chi is a downto-earth eatery, as is ev­i­dent in its sim­ple, min­i­mal­ist in­te­rior, as well as the fact that it’s housed in a dou­ble­storey semi-de­tached house. But even if one doesn’t be­lieve that less is more, Kim­Chi makes up for it in the Korean fare that it of­fers, which are, ar­guably, truer to the au­then­tic Korean style than most other restau­rants that make the same claim. Some have opined that the à la carte menu may not be en­tirely to ev­ery­one’s taste, es­pe­cially if one is not ac­cus­tomed to Korean food – but that’s as much praise as it is a dis­claimer, be­cause it makes Kim­Chi the per­fect place for those who pre­fer, or are in­tent on, try­ing au­then­tic Korean food.

Daily. 6pm–10.30pm. $$

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