I may be a-die-hard-ADOBO-at-heart (read : my palates love Filipino dishes, apparently) but I have been keeping my love affair with sushi, sashimi and sukiyaki for the longest time, even prior to 2005 when I set foot in TOKYO and have savored authentic Japanese dishes for 14 unforgettable days (read it all here –> http://docgelo.com/2010/04/05/letters-about-tokyo-11-eating-japanese/ and the rest is on my sidebar). That being said, I may not be a connoiseur but I know my palates so well. I may not have expert knowledge on the Japanese cuisine but my taste buds can clearly perceive what it likes from otherwise.
Actually, to state that I love Japanese food is an understatement. I immensely adore how Japanese meals serve both as art and sustenance. I appreciate the creative preparation to every dish. The unusual presentation of sushi and the exquisite skills exerted in slicing tuna and salmon and other fish for sashimi are impressively beautiful.
I conisder myself blessed because my current work place, Penang, boasts of unimaginable gastronomic diversity from its local community of Malay, Indian and Chinese, not to disregard the influences and fusion of Western cuisines and other Asian dishes like Japanese.
Last Sunday was one of my luckiest days! With my wife, Tina in tow, I attended an exclusive invitational Bloggers’ event at SAKAE SUSHI, First Avenue Mall, George Town, Penang. The event was hosted for food bloggers to sample the NEW MENU from Sakae Sushi.
The first couple of Beyond Toxicity were the very first to arrive at the event around 15 minutes before noon. Actually, we reached the mall early at few minutes past 10AM and had quick breakfast at our favorite coffee shop at the lobby; we really made sure not to be tardy for Sakae Sushi (read : we’re extremely excited, obviously). Then, we were friendly received by the staff and the Senior Marketing Manager herself, Ms. June. I have not been used to the fact that some people from Penang easily recognize my accent as someone from The Philippines (it always makes me wonder if my English sounds so weird with distinction…I digress) and Ms. June was not an exception. She candidly said with a smile, “I know, you’re from the Philippines!” She was warm enough to catch our attention as she casually explained Sakae Sushi and its creative and constant innovative approaches when it comes to uplifting lifestyle dining experiences. After Tina and I spent few minutes chatting with her, I took advantage of the moment with less diners yet inside the restaurant and took captures of what it has to offer. Not for long, Sakae Sushi was packed with hungry customers craving for Japanese food.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT SAKAE SUSHI
Freshness and a wide variety of ingredients per dish makes it authentic.
Open-Kitchen-Cooking : I like seeing how my food is prepared. It’s entertaining! Plus, santitation must be non-negotiable. Look at my captures on the chefs preparing sushi and other goodies; they all looked like they’re inside an Operating Theater! Amazing! (I want to learn how to do sushi!)
Wide selection at affordable cost. Majority of dishes on the menu are HEALTHY too!
Quick, friendly and attentive service.
Use of technology : iPad as an interactive menu (order with a flick of a finger!), that sushi conveyor belt is just so Japanese!
Availability of FREE flowing hot tea, chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce, tissue paper (a rarity in some food places in Penang!) right on the table –diners need NOT to ask for them! That spells convenience and customer-friendliness.
FAMILY FRIENDLY. They got kiddie meals too!
WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT SAKAE SUSHI
Limited space to walk around (I’ve been to 2 of its branches in Penang; both dining areas have small spaces or perhaps, I just think that with huge volume of patrons, Sakae Sushi definitely deserves a bigger area).
No “Irasshai mase!”-greetings. Although the Sakae Sushi staff are always ready with smiles to greet you, and as much as I know Sakae Sushi presents Japanese food as CONTEMPORARY and edgy, I still wish they would greet diners in authentic Japanese greetings. Konnichiwa and a bow would be so wonderful! *just my 2-cents-worth*
Uniforms of service crew are not authentic. I like to see wait staff wearing traditional Japanese wear -Kimonos and wooden slippers, FTW!
Ambience is too casual; it’s OK for me but a choice between something ordinary and an authentic one, I would choose the latter any day.
Addicting choices that one would want to get hold of all sushi from the conveyor belt, or press every page from their iPad menu to sample everything! hehehe!
WHAT I THINK OF SAKAE SUSHI’S NEW MENU THIS YEAR
Now, let’s get down to business.
Tantalisingly fresh servings of prawns, tuna flakes, snow crab leg and assorted vegetables serve with creamy goma dressing.
I like this salad because it has greens and generous servings of my favorite seafoods perfectly complemented with a tasteful dressing. I want to order this again on our next visit! It’s that good!
And of course Japanese meal isn’t complete without either sushi or sashimi. To me a good sushi is something that screams FRESHNESS! Needless to say, I do NOT want my sushi to smell or taste fishy. A good sushi is not soggy; neither the fish or seafood is too hot or too cold when served. And Sakae Sushi’s selection doesn’t disappoint!
Look at that beauty. Awesome plate, is it not?
Intricately-designed roll of tempting grilled salmon, shrimp roe, and mayonnaise on a delightful maki.
With Sakae Blossom, I have only one word to describe all of its ingredients : FAVORITE! …Need I say more?
Succulent half shell scallops grilled with cod fish roe.
I would chow down scallops any day rather than oysters. This Hotate Mentaiyaki could have been perfect for my taste if it’s more buttery and cheesy. It’s just me. ;)
Luscious roll consisting of whole cooked prawn with assorted vegetables and mayonnaise wrapped in a light crepe layer.
I like the light crepe as roll layer; it’s the next best thing to nori in my vocabulary. However, I prefer my prawn without shells and all.
SOFT SHELL CRAB MAKI
Mouth-watering maki creation of crispy soft shell crab, sweet beancurd, sushi rice and spicy mayonnaise.
Soft shell crab + mayonnaise = another winner maki for me!
TINARI AVOCADO EBI
Succulent whole prawn mixed with delicious vegetables and salad dressing, wrapped in sweet beancurd skin.
The avocado makes it delicous!
Beatifully crafted flower rolls with delicate raw salmon petals and sushi rice centre topped with mayonnaise and a luxurious sprinkle of shrimp roe.
Hands down to Hana Maki. This to me tops the list of the newest offerings from Sakae Sushi. Tina also agrees. This one’s such a gorgeous sushi! I can eat this Hana Maki everyday, any time, baby!
KAISEN PIRIKARA NABE
Appetising hotpot of prawns, cuttlefish, salmon, mushrooms, and assorted vegetables in flavorful kimchee soup.
To be honest, I developed the aversion to anything with Kimchi (or kimchee as Sakae Sushi spells it). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dreaming of taking my family to South Korea one Spring day someday but I don’t think I will like kimchi or anything with it. This Kaisen Pirikara Nabe, in all fairness, has a subtle taste, you may want to try it for yourself.
Japanese curry wheat noodles with chicken.
I also find it difficult to love curry. Sorry. Maybe because curry in Malaysia is so different with The Philippines’, ours back home is a milder and my tongue is as alien as I am here. Nonetheless, Sakae Sushi’s udon or wheat noodles in this soupy dish is to die for! I love that udon!
At this moment, my wife and I were almost struggling in being satiated. And it’s a delicous feeling of fullness, mind you! However, we could have not forgiven ourselves had we not sampled Sakae Sushi’s luxurious ice cream set…
The flavors are all interesting particularly Black Sesame and Dragon Fruit as it’s our first time to taste such uniquely amazing ice cream and I have to cast my vote to that tangy and sweet Passion Fruit as my favorite among the flavors.
Thank you so much to SAKAE SUSHI @ First Avenue Mall branch, George Town, Penang!
We certainly enjoyed your new menu!
We’ll be back very soon.
Terima Kasih to Penangite bloggers, Vincent Yu and Willie Wah for the invite!
*If you’re in Penang, Malaysia, do drop by and try those yummies at Sakae Sushi, located at 4th level, First Avenue Mall. There are also other branches in Penang and other states in Malaysia. If you’re in other parts of Asia, you may savor Sakae Sushi in Singapore, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Until this blog’s next episode of FAMILY.FOOD.and.FUN!
PS : You may be wondering about Gabby and her Mamita, for they’re not with us on this event. While Tina and I were devouring Sakae Sushi’s newest offerings, our 7-year-old son Gabby and his grandmother were glued watching Men In Black 3 in the same mall. We ate together before and after the event (yes, we do love to eat!), and did a little shopping for Gabby’s essentials.