Samurai uses flare with pork and sauces

Wednesday - 02/05/2012 20:39

On the Hoai River bank in Hoi An stands the Samurai Kitchen, known by some as a mecca of Japanese culinary culture in the area. Cong Thanh reportsLocated on the Hoai River bank near the centre of the old quarter in Hoi An City stands the Samurai Kitchen, known in some circles as a mecca of Japanese traditional culinary culture in the area.

Keep it simple: Chilli-tofu is cooked Japanese style
Worth a try: Chicken has the aroma and taste of Japanese flavours in Samurai Kitchen, Hoi An City.

Samurai kitchen

Address: 188A/5 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An City

Mobile: (01228504627)

Hour: 5pm-10pm

Price: VND350,000-400,000 for a dish

Comment: delicious, cool and light with open windows

This small restaurant can provide an evening meal to only 20 gourmands at a time, and is known for its pork dishes and its original imported soya-bean sauces.

The restaurant's owners rent the ground floor of a two-storey home f-rom the landlord who lives on the first floor.

The restaurant inspires patrons with its three cooking styles and different soya-bean sauces.

Genta Miyagawa, the restaurant owner and chef, opts for a loin of pork for his mains menu, the meat being sourced f-rom a Japanese supermarket in Da Nang, along with other imported foodstuffs f-rom Japan.

To make the dishes, a 15 by 20cm piece of loin will be put in a bowl with a mixture of wheat powder before being soaked in sizzling cooking oil.

The well-cooked loin slice is then cut into long and thin pieces.

The chef pours the Tonkatsu sauce on the loin and the dish is eaten with rice and miso soup served hot.

Miyagawa said he wants to offer tourists only ingredients and cooking style f-rom Japan.

"All sauces, meat, fish powder and main spices are f-rom Japan. I really cre-ate a corner of a Japanese kitchen in this town whe-re, incidentally, Japanese people set their imprints centuries ago," Miyagawa said.

"Gourmets must use chop-sticks to eat the pork, as is the Japanese style, and feel the taste and flavour of food."

All sauces at the kitchen are made with Japanese rice wine, sake, and soya-bean sauce as well as fish sauce.

Japanese fish sauce is not as salty as locally made fish sauce, so visitors can drink it.

"There is no secret in making traditional sauce because Japanese mingle for their daily meals. But the proportion and mixture of soya-bean sauce and sake is very important," Miyagawa said.

There is also a ponzu sauce variation and one topped with egg.

Ponzu sauce has vinegar, lemon juice, ponzu soya sauce, sake and fish powder. The meat is soaked in the sauce.

The egg topping variation is an easier process because the chef only has to put egg and the sauce of sake and soya sauce on the boiling slice of pork.

The egg-topped pork dish can be eaten with a salad of chopped cabbage, turnips and tomatoes.

Miso soup is cooked with pieces of tofu, fish powder, seaweed and soya-bean seeds.

Customers are advised to eat the three dishes with Japanese steamed rice and miso soup together.


In the galley: Genta Miyagawa, owner and chef of Samurai Kitchen, prepares a dish. — VNS Photos Hoai Nam
Miyagawa explained that Japanese eat fried pork, steamed rice and miso soup together while westerners take the soup first and then the pork, while the steamed rice is eaten last.

"But I have to persuade them to try the Japanese eating style."

Miyagawa said he named the restaurant Samurai because the name is the most popular trademark among the Japanese community.

The restaurant on the river bank is covered by a trellis of flowers. Huynh Thi Nghi Dung, 23, who works as Miyagawa's assistant, said westerners can find the restaurant easily because its only a short walk f-rom the Japanese bridge.

"Only Miyagawa and I cook and serve for customers f-rom 5pm-10pm each day. So, we sometimes sweat it out with a crowd of visitors at any given time," she said.

However, be warned: the restaurant closes on Wednesdays because, Miyagawa said, "I am a lazy guy." 



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