Thursday, 28 February 2013

Japanese in Hong Kong

Sen-ryo (千両)

I must have dedicated 2 full days to gorge on Japanese food. Sadly the Itacho chain has deteriorated in quality and doesn’t make the cut anymore. Luckily Mister found Sen-ryo.
There are multiple branches of Sen-ryo, and the one at Tsim Sha Tsui claims that all their sashimi grade fish are freshly imported from Japan daily.

We opted for our usual favourites; O-toro, sea urchin and oyster sushi were notably excellent. Fish were fresh, sweet and definitely of premium grade. I know I said things have become more expensive, but it’s still significantly cheaper than London. We had o-toro, sea urchin, ikura, oyster, shrimp with paste, scallop, yellowtail belly, spicy salmon and torched salmon, bill came to less than £20 per head.

Gyu-Kaku (牛角)
Last time I went to Morihachi for Japanese grill meat. My brother recommended a more economic alternative, Gyu-Kaku. The wait was ridiculous at the Tsim Sha Tsui LCX branch, they do take bookings but half of the restaurant is reserved for walk-in diners. We waited for 90mins, I went from not-hungry-at-all to I-will-order-everything-on-the menu.
As with all Japanese BBQ restaurants, the focus is on beef.

Chilli oil tofu
We had this as a starter. It looks crazily spicy, but to our pleasant surprise, the topping was mainly crispy fried garlic, super fragrant and the contrasting texture with the silky tofu was delightful. Slightly spicy to give a tingling feeling on tongue, but nothing scalp-numbing.

Premium Wagyu Rib-eye

Ahh this was absolutely scrumptious; marbled fat that gently sizzled I could eat this everyday.

Special Skirt Steak

With Mister in charge of the grilling, I think this was my favourite. Served with butter that slowly melted over the succulent meat... I even preferred this to the wagyu rib eye!

We also had egg yolk rib-eye, pork cheek, pork intestine, shrimp with mayonnaise and soft-boiled egg rice. The beef dishes were gorgeous, beautiful fat distribution that became the mouth-watering juicy coating on the meat upon grilling, oozing with beefy flavours. The soft-boil egg with rice was addictive and the shrimps with yolky mayo was surprisingly tasty. We devoured everything; each mouthful with groans of satisfaction. The only dish that Morihachi does better was pig intestine, which was quite sinewy and lined with lard here.

Yu San (魚鮮生)
I heard of this little gem in Wan Chai from HK Epicurus. He commended on the freshness of the sashimi and relatively good value for money. We opted for omakase at $300 per head and took this platter home to enjoy with sake that Mister bought.
It consisted of: o-toro, jumbo botan shrimp, sea urchin, cooked abalone, red clams, mackerel, scallop, yellowtail belly and salmon belly.

The sashimi pieces were colossal, and more importantly ultra fresh. One of the best things about omakase is that we get try food that we don’t usually order with a la carte, like abalone and botan shrimp, which were both excellent. The sea urchin could be some of the best I have ever eaten, and needless to say the o-toro was heavenly.

Kosyu (湖舟)
Two years ago I had the most satisfying lunch at Kosyu. It has since relocated across the road and prices for lunch rose by 50%, demanding c. £25 for a sashimi lunch set as a minimum. Ouch.

The good news is sashimi is still top class here; baby pink, melt-in-mouth o-toro; fresh, sweet uni; fat-packed yellowtail belly and some very crafty chopped squid… all justifies the price tag.

Japanese cuisine still dominates the restaurant scene in Hong Kong. I know ramen bars and udon restaurants have been spreading from Japan too, but I didn’t get a chance to try out any this trip. When given the choice of noodles and sashimi, the latter always wins!

You may also like: Japanese in Me (2011), Dim Sums HK


  1. Gosh this post had me going ga-ga! good thing we are heading to japan in May for our honeymoon :)

    1. You're going to Japan for your honeymoon?! I'm sooooo jealous. Weather in May will be so nice too. Not much longer now:)

    2. Yes, we're super excited! It'll be my first time, but my hubby has already been before. Can't wait to eat our way through japan :)

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