Itadakimasu! いただきます!

Itadakimasu! いただきます!

"Itadakimasu" is a common word said in Japanese before a meal and ir basically means "I receive (with humility all that has been put into this meal).
Esther Seletyn Chai
Esther Seletyn Chai

I never really review Japanese buffets because... Well usually the ones commoners like me go to are merely for "stuffing yourself till your full" purposes and unless it's really bad *cough*shogun*cough* I'm pretty ok with it.

Of course, I take into consideration the price of the buffet and the quality of the food. RM 100 for nicely done steak cuts and grilled unagi as part of the menu? Well sure thing! RM 100 for hagen daaz ice cream? Uhhh...

MAIU is priced at around RM 50 after all those pesky taxes and has a time limit of 2 hours. Their food is ok-ish and is made to order. Choose from a wide range of sashimi (hint: don't touch the butter fish or white tuna) and sushi (which is mostly rice with a thin slice of nigiri) and other things like chawanmushi (normal), edamade, yakiniku and even rice (but why?) Obviously for occassions like this people make it an aim to stuff themselves silly and with RM 50, you really can't complain. Food isn't THAT great but it makes decent food for RM 50 (but like I said, you're partially psychologically influenced by the price anyway) so you prettt much get what you pay for.

During peak hours service might be pretty slow and they have a tendency of not bringing in your orders in the specifies quantity. Annoying sometimes when yoy're racing against the clock to eat the shop till it closes.

Parking is not pleasant as well so do take note of that.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Like how can Yakitori taste so good?? Isn't this satay? what us this magic?

Well welcome to Sumi-ka. Famous for having no seats, lots of Japanese people and a Japanese uncle behind the stove who can speak Cantonese.

Sumi-ka isn't a place you would want to bring your first date (but who I am to judge?) nor is it where you would want to eat a meal (unless you're ready to break the bank) and technically, it closes too early (12 a.m.) to be a "yum cha" sorta place. It's smokey. It's noisy. It's not the most elegant of places. But the food is good. And the atmosphere is a breath of fresh air (see what I did there?) to the fancy shmancy Japanese restaurants in the area.

It is quite hard to just review a dish or all of them (it will take forever) since you will just try so many in one sitting but what is certain is thag everything is what you are paying for. Yakitori typically goes for RM 4-6 per stick with pork and beef costing more. They also serve potatoes and sweet potatoes baked over the grill (and the seasoning is on point!) as well as teriyaki don and onigiri. And of course, I LOVE their pudding so be sure to order those. They have limited quantities so be sure to try it at least. Overall if you ask me, the food here comes slow, but is definitely well done and done with lotsa care (not like the uncle will layan you if you rush him la). A bit pricey, but you are getting pretty good food (the beef tongue is really good by the way)

So if you're looking for a casual bite (or a meal, if you're willing to spend like an average of 80 per person) with a lively night atmosphere....remember to book a place.

Hullo peeps! Today we gonna be exploring the less-explored Japanese Restaurant- Hyotan (瓢箪) which means... Gourd... Ok don't ask me why because I really have no idea... Unless of course the aim is to be like "oh like the magical gourd we shall provide you with with magical food" .... Or at least I wish....

Located along the road of Japanese restaurants, Hyotan is a little far away from the rest and is a few doors away from Souka Bake Shop. While the surroundings are a little dodgy, the interior itself does scream "CLASS!!!" and tables are either in private booths (HOORAY FOR PRIVACY) or by the bar. Sake, alcohol and what not are available and you have some less seen items on the list like ochazuke and this huge gigantic ball onigiri and zosui.

But that's fine. We're here for a meal. And they have set menus as well. Hyotan Bento (Bento A) comes at a price of RM 45 pre 16% tax. Green tea costs RM 1 and wet tissue is RM 0.50 so beware!

The Hyotan Bento A comes with tempura, unagi and salmon sashimi as well as rice, chawanmushi, pickles, salad, salmon roe, and some other side dishes. The 3 salmon slices came fresh and fairly thick in slice whils the tempura came with 1 ebu, 1 sweet potatk, 1 okra and 1 brinjal. The cawanmushi, is smooth and nicely seasoned and comes with ginko and chicken. And the set seems to give you everything in moderation. Very healthy I must say.

But the tempura was a disappointment. The batter was undercooked and not crispy and white like Snow White after she fell into a coma with too much foundation on. But othee than that, this seems to be a pretty value for money set.

So if you're looking for a quiet place to be and don't mind spending a little this is the place for you. And parking! Parking everywhere!

If you're familiar with SS15 Subang Jaya, you'll know of the famous "Japanese Food Row" opposite SJMC. The reason it is called such is because of the many Japanese shops along that row. Most of them side by side. And even so, competition seems to be fair.

Enter Jyu Raku - located right beside Rakuzen, Jyu Raku's name spells out to be longevity(寿) and happiness (樂) and to deliver these aspects, Jyu Raku claims to focus on fresh and quality ingredients.

Today's feafure is Bara Chirashi Don (RM 40 pre all those lovely taxes) which was a bowl of sushi rice topped with multiple different cubes of sashimi (salmon, tuna, snapper, amberjack), avacado as well as shiitake mushrooms, kani sticks, perilla leaves and salmon roe. Much can be said about the sashimi. Fresh. Firm. Comes in a good amount to ensure every bite is met with rice AND fish/whatever you want. The rice was also nicely seasoned and the mushrooms had lots of flavour to give taste to the sashimi and rice.

The parking however... dinner and lunch times prove to find parking a challenge. But valet parking is available and is based on tips. So if you trust them with your car... I guess why not?


For RM 29, you get free flow of thinly sliced pork belly, black pepper chicken breast (thinly sliced), miso soup, garlic fried rice, salad (no dressing) and udon. Garlic fried rice is not bad, don't expect much from the udon and sadly, ice cream not included (you'll need to buy the RM 45 package for that) and parking is a rare Pokemon. Service is slow. I mean, salad, udon, fried rice only arrived after 2 rounds of meat arrived. Apparently the kitchen was busy despite the lack of customers but ok. The grill takes some getting used to because unlike Korean BBQ, the meat cooks fast since it's thinly sliced so be careful not to burn your food. So how much are you paying for free flow? RM 29 and a little bit of time and patience.


Konbanwa minna-san! Esther is back with another Japanese place! Previously named Matsuba Shokudo, this place currently called Aji-ya (味屋) serves Japanese food and I gather is pretty popular among those living nearby by the amount of filled tables (me and the family went during a weekend, 8:30 p.m. and we had to wait for a bit).

Secretly tucked inside OBD Garden Tower Condo, Aji-ya will require you to park by the roadsidr because they only have 7 slots to park under their name inside. If you're lucky, just tell the guards you're here for Aji-Ya Japanese restaurant and they'll let you in, otherwise park outside it is!

The place itseld doesn't garner much attention, only a small door and a small signboard, Aji-Ya is located beside a swimming pool, after a playgroubd and security house inside the condo itself. The place is run by a chinese lady and the kitchen is run by a Japanese chef.

Menu wise, unlike most Japanese restaurants, Aji-ya sports a very minimal menu. With sets only taking up a page (ramen set, special set or even onigiri set among the few) with prices not exceeding RM 30.

We ordered a Nankotsu Ramen (RM 15) which had the tag "specially made" by the side. It came with pork ribs and in a pork broth. The pork broth is not as heavy as Bankara's broth and tastes rather light but still flavourful, not enough to make you sick of it. The pork rib meat was tender and broke apart pretty easily. Portion wise it was huge. No funny business like lots of soup here. Maximum portion of noodles and soup for you!

I ordered the Sashimi Onigiri set which came with a Ramen of your choice (miso, shoyu, shio) which came with 2 niko-niko onigiri sized onigiri, 6 slices of thick cut sashimi and a huge bowl of ramen. Think Maggie Sup you order in the mamak, now multiply it by 1.3. That was the portion size of the noodles. Let's not even get to the salad which I couldn't even touch because I had trouble finishing the onigiri and ramen by myself. All this for RM 30.

We also ordered other things like gyoza (RM 8) and soft shell crab temaki and sake temaki (salmon temaki) - can't recall the price. Which all looked pretty expensive at first but given the generous amount of sashimi/soft shell crab, it was worth it.

The brother ordered a Curry Rice- Ramen set (RM 28) which came with curry rice ans a ramen of your choice from the 3 I mentioned earlier. The curry rice was really good. Thick, rich, flavourful and went with the rice nicely (tho not as nice as CoCo Curry) while once again, it came with a hige bowl of ramen by the side as well as the normal fruits and salad. My brother, who is a monster eater, got full after finishing this whole set and 1/3 of my dad's nankotsu ramen. Mind you this is a brother who will always make me broke when I treat him to something. Just him alone can cost me RM 100 at least at Kinpachi.

Oh and green tea (RM 1.50) is refillable.


Nihonkai is located in Mentari right opposite Sunway Pyramid serving Japanese food. The outlet marks the second outlet, managed by the big boss' younger sister with a new branch recently opening in Kota Kemuning (which I heard, has gotten less than positive reviews.)

Chirashizushi (Jo) came at a price of RM 58.00 and mixed sahsimi (jo) at RM 58.00 came in a boat with dry ice. Props for presentation there. Salmon and maguro sashimi tasted alright while the shiro maguro (white tuna) tasted frozen. Then again, with white tuna in Malaysia, I've never had non-frozen white tuna before :( if you do, hit me up! Portions do come larger in size than Sushi Zanmai with set dinners mostly priced below RM 30.

Booking might be required if it's during the festivities or the weekends since this place is pretty small.

So if you're in the Sunway area and you're sick of the commercial Sushi Zanmai and Sakae Sushi and such, try this for a change.


So while I do like recommending places to have good food (and bad food), I also like to talk ABOUT food. Hence with my late arrival to the beauty of Chirashizushi, I'll just put this post out there.

Chirashizushi ( ちらし寿司) basiclly means scattered sushi and it's quite easy to see why. If you like sashimi and nigiri sushi, Chirashizushi is like a dream come true in a the form of mixed rice. What it is is basically vinegared rice (sushi rice) topped with... well... stuff.... the general rule is that the Kanto region (eg Tokyo) uses raw fish while the Kansai region uses vegetables and omelettes as a base (called Barasushi). Of course that is just a brief separation and different cities will have different styles. For example Osaka (kansai) styled barasushi has eel and root vegetables as well and even within the Kanto region, some use raw fish, some use octopus and the sorts. Also, not all Chirashizushi looks the same. Some have large pieces of raw meat while some are like mine. Once again, it's something that relies heavily on style. Kinda like how kimchi in different restaurants taste differently.

Granted, if you are a fan of nigiri sushi or sashimi, I suggest you give this a try. I, for one am hooked to this particular style as it gives me a bite of raw fish and vinegared rice in every bite. It actually is a really good rice to raw meat ratio.

And because it's my birthday, today's post is weird hahahaha


Amusing that I went for Kin Ryu Tei in the afternoon and when night comes, here I am. But I mean, hey, since the prices are the same, I'll just conveniently make a comparison for the benefit of those confused in this what I like to call the "Japanese" Row.

The Sushi to Mini Udon Zen js a set that comes with 5 pieces of nigiri sushi, a cawanmushi, 1 mini udon, some fruits and a small appetizer (RM 40).

Ok here's a joke: what did the sushi say to the mini udon when it got angry?

"U-don min it!"

The sushi was small, rice was well packed and the fish was properly done. I probably can't complain till I go to Japan and eat that sushi that will send me to heaven and back. But so far this is a good sushi. The mini udon was nothing to shout about. Don't think it was meant to be special anyway and the whole set won't make you full. It will leave you in that limbo between not full and not hungry tho. Ahh the sadness.


When in need of prosperity, go touch a Golden Dragon. While Golden Dragons might be a myth, perhaps you can try your luck at Kin Ryu Tei. With the kanji words for "Gold", "Dragon" and "Pavillion" respectively, Kin Ryu Tei is one of the fancier looking restaurants but doesn't seem to garner much attention with famous competition such as Rakuzen and Jyu Raku and many other Japanese restaurants in the same row. Interior deco is fancy and gives you the feeling of an expenaive restaurant and they have sea urchin! Lighting is as yellow as the scales of the golden dragon and food pricing is pretty standard to deal with competition.

Salmon nigiri sushi was going for RM 4 per piece and was served with freshly grated wasabi. The salmon tasted fresh, no signs of it frozen as tho it accompanied Captain America in the 1000 yr old freezer.

We also ordered a place of Spicy Spider Roll which was soft shell crab with ikura, some spicy mayo thingy sauce drizzled on top and freshly grated wasabi by the side. It's salty tho. So salty that I'm quite sure while they wanted it to be "ocean salty fresh" this wasn't what they were going for.


Kinpachi is a Japanese restaurant on the second floor in SS 17, the same row as Shell and Petron. Declaring itself as an"authentic Japanese Restaurant" the head chef is indeed Japanese and is quite well known among the Japanese who stay in the area probably because 1- they sell various forms of Japanese alcohol and 2- the staff some of them do speak Japanese. Prices are generally quite high as compared to other places especially those which are commercial (for example RM 57 before service charge and tax for an Unajyuu - Unagi with rice) but it still doesn't seem to deter Japanese salary man (that's what they call people who go to the office in Japan) and loyal customers from coming here.

The Yaki Gyozas (pan fried dumplings, RM 14 for 6 pcs) are properly done. Each bite gives you filling as well as flavourful juices like that of a xiao long bao. The gyoza is not big, but is enough to provide you with texture with each bite. Dip in vinegar + chilli oil mixture to cancel out the oiliness and a slight tartness that makes the dish perhaps all the more appetizing.

Presentation isn't its strong point. No fanvy garnishing and no special japanese cutlery. Just a white plate that it almost looks sad.

Overall, this is a properly done yaki gyoza. Not the best Yaki Gyoza, but not bad either. Perhaps instead of "De Gozaru" it makes you wonder if the RM 14 was worth it. Surely there are better gyozas out there "de arimasu...ka?"

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My my, I seem to be on fire this week. Because yes, it is the mid semester break! While I love cooking, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Top Catch Fisheries is no stranger to those who love sashimi. If you like sashimi, chances are you've heard of Top Catch. They claim to bring in fresh goods everyday except Fridays and are open from Tuesdays to Sundays.

The place itself is not much. They aren't a restaurant, they have no fancy tables with air-conditioning. You sit by the roadside on plastic stools and use plastic tables and can also order breakfast from other stalls like pork noodles or chicken rice if you want.

The sashimi itself is cut into thick slices and has a firm texture. Not wet, doesn't taste frozen and doesn't smell. Price goes by the weight, not terribly cheap but not expensive either, and comes with small packets of soy sauce and wasabi but you can also purchase fresh grated wasabi for RM 1.00 per small container. A note is that fresh wasabi ain't got that kick so if you like the self-torturing, runny nose inducing type of wasabi. Go for the free packets.


I write reviews and stuff. And take pictures as a hobby

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