February 2, 2017

Flavour of Hanami @ The Cube, ISETAN The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur

A Cherry Blossom Celebration with Authentic Japanese Cultural & Culinary Experience

Sheer pleasures of Kyoto’s enchanting seasons are truly worthy of celebrations with the finest gastronomical cuisine of The Land of the Rising Sun. From 21 January to 25 March, ISETAN The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur plays host to Flavours of Hanami exhibition where four of Japan’s finest chefs are flown in to the city by Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

In time with Hanami, the celebration of cherry blossom in Kyoto, Flavour of Hanami set sails in our city to let avid Japan fans experience the magical four seasons of Kyoto together with its culinary flavours and the essence of Hanami.

Flavour of Hanami leads participants through the Hanami themed activities were presented in three different zones at The Cube, located on the third floor of ISETAN the Japan Store Kuala Lumpur.

The Gallery, the first room of the three, takes one across the mystical and Zen sights of Kyoto displayed on projector as well as a galleria of Hanami bento boxes made especially for this exhibition prepared by four Japanese culinary maestros from four fine Japanese restaurants in Kyoto.

Participants will experience the tradition and craft of Japanese cuisine with tastings of MIO Sparkling Sake and Hana Kizakua Sake.

The display of the aesthetics of cherry blossom viewing Hanami bento boxes by the four Japanese chefs are a sight of culinary art and its intricate rules of creating classic bento boxes the old traditional way. From the dishes packed neatly and tightly, it also follows a three-dimensional arrangement that appeases the sight when the lid of the box is open. All ingredients are the best during the season and all tastes are well balanced from acidity, bitter, sweet and salty to umami. Every ingredient is cut into the shape that best bring out the season such as flowers for spring and all colors of the ingredients are coordinated to compliment the season too.

IZUU by Shogo Sasaki
Bento Box: Hakozushi (Pressed Sushi), Saba-Sugatazushi (Whole Mackerel Lightly Matured Sushi) and Futomakizushi (Large Sushi Rolls)

IZUU is famed for their mackerel sushi made from chub mackerel from the sea near the shores of Japan. Marinated in salt and vinegar, the mackerel is then combined with sushi rice and wrapped in kelp to bring out its flavour. It is said that when enjoying the mackerel sushi that the people of Kyoto have loved and prepared for celebrations from ancient times, the children will recommend the fattiest part of the mackerel to the parents and the parents will then also do the same in return.

KINOBU by Takuji Takahashi
Bento Box: Chirashizushi (Scattered Topping Sushi), Simmered Spring Vegetables (Bamboo Shoots, Fuki), Simmered Japanese Imperial Prawns and Simmered Spring Vegetables (Broad Beans)

The bento box compliments the pale colours of cherry blossoms with much colours of the ingredients. Kinobu originated as a caterer and continues to this day, taking many orders for their bento boxes. Preparation of these bento boxes starts few days in advance to ensure everything is well prepared, seasoned, flavoured and packed beautifully. Kinshi egg made with extra egg yolks to whole eggs, prawns accentuated by concentrated mirin to simmering dashi soaked bamboo shoots, giant butterbur and broad beans, one can be sure to taste the rich flavours of the season in the bento box.

CHIKURIN by Hideki Shimoguchi
Bento Box: Octopus Simmered in Hoji-Cha Tea, Uji Matcha Flavoured Fudengaku and Tempura with Rice Cracker Coating accompanied by Matcha Salt

Chikurin bento box has three layers, letting diners reveal layers of surprises. In themed with spring and cherry blossoms, the layers of bento box is filled with vibrant fresh colors denoting of the gorgeous colours of the season. The fudengaku (gluten cakes) with matcha green tea kneaded and the prawn tempura served with salt mixture with matcha green tea pays tribute to the restaurant built in Uji where tea is at its prime. There is also the octopus boiled in hoji-cha tea too to showcase that tea leaves are used in the dishes not as a drink but as a seasoning.

Bento Box: Steamed Abalone, Red Snapper Sushi Wrapped in Cherry Leaf, Bamboo Leaf Rolled Gluten Cake with Sweet Red Beans, Flower Petal Daikon and Flower Petal Carrot

Perhaps the most luxurious bento box featuring premium abalone and the highly prized Red Snapper much loved by the Japanese, TSURUSE bento box features gorgeous ingredients just like its gorgeous building overflowing with food and beauty. Soft and sweet nuances of lightly steamed abalone paired with delicate and sweet red snapper wrapped in cherry leaf shows the freshest seasonal ingredients are so good, only minimal cooking is needed. A steamed bun with manju filling is also served wrapped in bamboo leaf.

Moving to the Theatre, one catches short but amazing movie of Kyoto’s magnificent four seasons in high definition. The short movie gives an enticing insight into the four Japanese seasons, the history and foundation of Kyoto food.

And this is followed by the finale of the event where participants can personally get close with the Japanese chefs in a live presentation of authentic traditions and techniques of “authentic Washoku”.

Leading the event with a speech is none other than Xavier Mah from Xavier Mah Consultancy

Chef Shogo Sasaki and his charming personality where the humble chef is shy but passionate about sharing information from his experience in the Japanese culinary scene. Known as the heir of the current 7th generation owner of IZUU, a Kyoto sushi restaurant established in 1781, Chef Sasaki is known for his culinary prowess in preparing the popular mackerel sushi. After training for three years at a famous sushi restaurant in Osaka, he joined IZUU, with the aim to preserve the flavours and culture of Kyoto’s mackerel sushi. The sushi specialist continues the tradition of his forefathers, adding significant touches of Japanese flavours and culture into one of his most-loved dish, to pass it to the next generation.

Left or Right: Mr. Xavier Mah, Mr. Ken Fukutake, General Manager of Media Content Planning Department, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Chef Shogo Sasaki and Chef Takeshi Matsuo, head chef of IZUU Restaurant

Chef Sasaki takes over with a live presentation of his two signature dishes - Chirasizushi (Scattered Topping Sushi) and Saba-sugatazushi (Whole Mackerel Lightly Matured Sushi). After the exciting demonstration, participants will have a chance to indulge in Chef Sasaki’s authentic and delicious Kyoto-style dishes.

Needless to say, Chef Sasaki makes it all looked so easy with his swift skills in preparing the mackerel. The finished mackerel sushi resembles the logo of IZUU where a rabbit takes center stage.

We were served a freshly prepared Mackerel Sushi and a one-day only matured Mackerel Sushi for comparison. Strangely, the one-day matured mackerel had a softer flavour without the sharpness of vinegar compared to the fresh one. I enjoyed the one-day matured mackerel out of the two.

Next up, Chef Sasaki prepares his Chirasizushi with such finesse and efficient movements. Mixing mushrooms and a type of fish into the rice to flavour it before finishing it with yellow sunshine of finely shredded egg omelette, sliced sea bream sashimi, poached prawn and squid and finishing it with black fungus and seaweed flakes.

The flavours of the Chirasizushi is rather simple but nevertheless delicious in every bite.

Perhaps what took me by surprise was the dessert. Dessert ended on high with hot green tea and freshly made Sakura Mochi. The texture of the mocha is deliciously delightful while the filling of red bean is creamy and just right in sweetness.

Don’t miss this exclusive Flavour of Hanami exhibition for its truly one-of-a-kind event that was brought in especially by Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

Flavour of Hanami Schedule
Shogo Sasaki
21st & 22nd January 2017

Nobuyuki Tanaka
18th & 19th February 2017

Hideki Shimoguchi
4th & 5th March 2017

Takuji Takahashi
18th & 19th March 2017

1st Session: 12pm - 130pm
2nd Session: 3pm - 430pm
3rd Session: 6pm - 730pm

Ticket is priced at RM100 (including GST) per pax.
Limited tickets & first come first serve basis with 25 guests per session

Tickets for the following three sessions can be purchased at the ticket office, call 03-2382 7777 or purchase online at www.eventbrite.com.

ISETAN The Japan Store Kuala Lumpur
3rd Floor, The Cube
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
50, Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur

Facebook: www.facebook.com/isetanthejapanstorekl

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