January 18, 2024

Club sushi

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My friends from high school have been telling me how much they enjoy going for sushi at the Hong Kong Japanese Club (香港日本人倶楽部), and when we had dinner together last week, this came up again during our conversation. I'm grateful that a booking was made for lunch today so that I could try it for the first time.

There are only 8 seats at the sushi counter at Sakura Japanese Restaurant (日本料理 さくら), so we were pretty lucky to have taken up half the space. As we are here to try their sushi, I chose the menu option with the most amount of sushi - 12 Pieces Sushi Course (にぎり寿司12貫コース). I kinda felt bad when everyone else decided to follow suit so that we all take the same option, because I knew some of the others didn't want to have so many pieces. Well... thankful that they chose to indulge me.

Appetizer (小鉢) - well... what do we get to start with... but my favorite fish cum! No, thank you! Someone else can have my portion.

White fish thin cut (薄造り) - we have three types of white fish served as sashimi.

Red seabream (鯛)

Olive flounder (平目)

North Pacific giant octopus (水蛸) - got both parts of the tentacles and the suckers. Really crunchy and nice.

Crab bisque - this showed up and I was a little perplexed. Obviously not part of the sashimi course, and too heavy-handed as a palate cleanser for the upcoming nigiri... Gotta say it was very, very tasty... chock-full of crab and shellfish flavors, lots of umami (旨味), and the tiny little croûtons on top were a nice touch.

Female Japanese snow crab (香箱蟹) - now THIS was a total surprise! I know, of course, that it's currently the season for egg-bearing female Japanese snow crabs (香箱蟹), but I didn't expect this to be on our sushi-driven menu. The eggs were still attached to the setae inside the apron, and it took a little effort to try to get as many of them as possible. The flavors of the eggs were pretty intense, as one would expect.

Love the pile of crab meat which has been taken out of the shells by the kitchen. So, so tasty.

Buried within were chunks of the crab's ovaries (內子), which were more solid in texture.

The 12-nigiri sushi (にぎり寿司) part of the meal followed. I didn't take note of the temperature or the acidity of the shari (シャリ), which meant it wasn't particularly warm... and the amount of vinegar used was on the moderate side.

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - lightly torched to liquefy the fat under the skin.

Rosy seabass (喉黒) - this was always gonna be very tasty, especially when lightly torched and the delicious fat coats one's tongue and lips.

Japanese halfbeak (細魚) - topped with some minced ginger and diced perilla (紫蘇) leaves. While this was pretty fragrant, I found the big hit of wasabi here a little jarring.

Horse mackerel (縞鯵) - another punch from the wasabi. The neta (ネタ), though, delivered a nice combination of crunch around the edges while remaining tender in the middle.

Ark shell (赤貝)

Yellowtail (鰤) - this was so, soooooo nice! The neta was very long, and pretty damn thick. The texture, though, was really soft... like a thick cotton pad. While this isn't the winter yellowtail (寒鰤) with the very crunchy texture that I normally crave, it was nevertheless so nice that I would have loved another piece or two.

Botan shrimp (牡丹海老)

Fatty tuna (大トロ) - the fat on top had liquefied and was so tasty that I wondered whether the neta had been lightly torched.

Marinated salmon roe (イクラ) - with shaved yuzu (柚子) zest on top.

Marinated lean tuna (赤身漬け)

Sea urchin (雲丹) - this seemed to be the favorite piece among the others.

Wagyu (和牛) - torched to impart that wonderful smoky flavor.

The soup was pretty decent, with some shimeji (しめじ茸) mushrooms in the bowl.

Yokan with strawberries (苺羊羹) - a nice yokan (羊羹) made with adzuki beans. The texture was relatively soft and not dense like many commercial products, and the fresh strawberries were a nice touch.

A pretty happy meal today, and yes, the pricing was completely reasonable considering the quality of the product. And the crab was surely a complimentary course from the chef as he knows our friend well. With prices like these, how do I get to join the club?

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