Tag Archives: Seafood

Food Trip: Hiroshima & Ehime, Finding Seafood at its Best

The Foodie Magazine has the opportunity to pioneer its way through the regions less heard back on our trip to Japan and here we came up with best places to eat while in Chugoku and the western part of Shikoku.

Japan is all about perfection on what we see and what we experience, including of course, every part of my foodie exploration during my recent trip there.

Treading a road less traveled to the Chugoku area where the famed city of Hiroshima resides and a bit to the south, heading to Ehime prefecture across the narrow sea to the Shikoku island, I was held in awe with not just the how this western part of the big Honshu island has to offer with its beautiful nature but also with the food.

From the city of Hiroshima to the heart of Ehime in Matsuyama, hereby The Foodie Magazine shares you the best places for traditional fares and seafood as the main star.

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HIROSHIMA-STYLE OKONOMIYAKI

Okonomiyaki is ubiquitous in Hiroshima that it is even can be seen from the moment I put my footsteps on the city’s main train station. Everyone was seen having it for lunch or dinner and long queues are seen on many places.

Despite having the literal meaning of ‘cook as you please’, how people actually cook this Japanese pancake is actually very straightforward. In Hiroshima, after the batter has been set, the cook will then stack it on a bed of cabbages in abundance, bean sprouts, tempura crumbs and pork.

Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (2) Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (3)

An egg is then cracked open and cooked for a moment before being topped with the okonomiyaki. Lastly, taking an advice from an old friend, I decided to instead ask for seafood as a substitute for the pork. With the special sauce topped on it and sprinkles of togarashi to whip up its spiciness, it was perhaps one of the best okonomiyaki I ever had.

At the Full Focus Building on the 6th floor, get yourself caught in a maze filled with okonomiyaki shops where people would choose their favorite shops to enjoy the slice of Hiroshima’s best with good drinks and good friends.

Full Focus Building, 10-1 Matsubara-cho, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima

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ALL ABOUT OYSTERS AT KAKI-YA

The beauty of Itsukushima Shrine and its legendary torii are known worldwide and this site is not only Japan’s third most famous tourist spot, but also one of the world’s heritages.

Right in the heart of the shopping street of the island’s only town, there’s one famous restaurant where people would queue long for its grilled oysters. Kakiya is the name and arriving early before lunch saved me a good seat to enjoy the lunch. The restaurant itself has been featured in publications such as Hiroshima’s Michelin Guide and Lonely Planet Japan.

Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (4) Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (5)

For a lunch set that consists of grilled oysters, fried breaded oysters, and oysters rice with miso shiru; it was a kingly gift that gave me power to explore this majestic island and preparing myself with the manju making class at the island’s best shop for the delicacy – Yamadaya.

Kaki-ya, 539 Miyajima-cho, Itsukushima, Hiroshima

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THE FRESHEST GRILLED SEAFOOD AT YOSHIUMI IKI-IKI KAN

One of my best highlights of the journey was the decision to stop by at this rest area on Oshima island before heading to the mainland of Shikoku. With an astonishing view of the world’s longest suspension bridge of Kurushima-Kaikyo, the experience of eating freshly grilled seafood at Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan topped any places that I ever visited.

Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (1) Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (7)

Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan has its own seafood market where customers can choose what they wish to eat and pay before grilling it. Wide selections from live fish, octopus, oysters, and cockles are available here including skewered meat, corn on the cob, and many more.

Right next door, Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan has prepared an alfresco dining room and prepares each customer a charcoal stove. Experience yourself the Japanese way of grilling seafood and enjoy it with a bowl of taimeshi ­or the sea bream rice.

Yoshiumi Iki-Iki Kan, 4530-2 Yoshiumi Chomyo, Imabari-shi, Ehime

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THE TAIMESHI OF DOGO

The sea bream is everywhere to be found in Ehime prefecture and it’s like comparing it to Norway with its salmons. In many restaurants, the use of white rice is often substituted to taimeshi or a mixture of flavored rice with shredded cooked sea bream. Delicious and fulfilling, the taimeshi becomes a great company for any of Ehime’s rich lineup of cuisines.

Hiroshima & Ehime - Seafood (6)

At the Dogo Beer Bakushukan, the tavern serves wonderful cuisines of Matsuyama in addition to the city’s reputation for its beer brewery. The dinner set consists of various choices between chicken and beef, but that day I preferred Dogo Beer Bakushukan’s version of sea bream with rice as a dinner set.

The sliced raw sea bream is served upon rice and then to be mixed with raw egg. Add a bit of soy sauce on it and there you go, a dish to remember when in Matsuyama. After such a wonderful treat, don’t forget to pamper yourself on the bath next door at Dogo Onsen before calling it a night.

Dogo Beer Bakushukan, 20-13 Dogoyunomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Jan 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photography by Dennie Ramon

Street Food: Ikan Nila Pak Ugi

If anyone speaks about seafood in Indonesia, then it cannot be separated with what people love best – grilled fish or fried fish. In this issue, it’s time to visit Pak Ugi and his finest tilapias right on the heart of Kelapa Gading.

Living in the world’s biggest archipelago means that you have to eat seafood more every day. With the abundance of our frutti di mare, it’s easy to stop by at any given seafood shack on the side of the street or make way once in a while to splurge at a really good upscale restaurant for that. But the beauty of working with street food articles is to find the right place that goes with the right price.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (3)

In the case of Pak Ugi’s restaurant, it’s easy to get lost between the throng of shops and restaurants of Kelapa Gading. As an easy pointer for you, Pak Ugi’s restaurant can be found around a hundred meters after the roundabout from Mall Kelapa Gading on the left side.

Arriving at 2.30pm I was caught in awe with how they operated the business. In contrast with many other local small restaurants or even hawkers, the staffs at Pak Ugi’s were diligent in maintaining the cleanliness and the speed of service. The one man behind the grill was responsible of hundreds of tilapia, pomfret, or gourami every day but he did not neglect his work even for a couple of minutes and that’s how the service became so disciplined.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (1)

I always love the tilapia. With its moderate size, the flesh is plentiful and the bone structure was unlike other fish. The bigger bones gave out a good space for us to dig in with ease and that’s how I remembered how divine my visit to Bang Themmy’s back in Bandung last year.

That afternoon, I opted for the grilled tilapia and the fried version in butter sauce. The latter was the typical dish you will find in many Chinese restaurants although it is commonly applied to chicken or frog’s legs. Much to my surprise, it worked so well with the tilapia, thanks to the crispy skin and the rich, sweet and velvety butter sauce.

Ikan Nila Pak Ugi (2)

The grilled tilapia was also decent but quickly overshadowed by the qualities found with its fried counterpart. In spite of that, the sambal came as the rescuer. As praised by many, Pak Ugi’s sambal was not only fiery, but has that complex balance of flavors into it and the freshness coming out from the squeezed lime.

The quality that I witnessed was proven well with the price and that became an experience that cannot be traded anywhere else. Be sure to come by during odd hours to avoid queues, but if you happen to be that unlucky, I’d stay even for more than an hour to wait for seat!

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IKAN NILA PAK UGI
Halal-friendly
Some dishes are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Jalan Boulevard Raya Blok FX1 no. 1, Kelapa Gading, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours:
Daily, 11am – 10pm

Spend: IDR 50,000 – IDR 75,000 / person

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Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE Sept 2015 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Halal Eat Out: Long John Silver’s – Singapore

Yup, right. Long John Silver’s. My first time with Singapore’s one of oldest fast food chains. My aim was to get a good pseudo-experience eating something that Fish & Co. or MFM has to offer, and it was actually quite pleasant. Here’s a bit about it.

Ubiquitous all over Singapore, Long John Silver’s has been known to Singaporeans since 1983. Faithfully offering fast food style fish and chips and other variations of it, well, apparently it is something which is currently non-existent in Indonesia.

Indonesians love their rice and fried chicken too much and it forces some burger-based fast food chains to adapt with this extreme fondness. Lucky that it seems more and more Indonesians fell in love with burgers every year.

However, when it comes to fish in fast food chain, well, not so much. My one and only love aside from Indonesia’s McD’s muffins is the Fillet O’Fish, used to be missing for several years and now reappearing to the surface. Hey! Perhaps it is high time for Long John Silver’s to arrive here.

So, one night, I was visiting the one at Bugis. Cramped and full of people, the cashier greeted me coldly. Tried my best to be helpful and smiling but to no avail. Well, couldn’t complain about this side of Singaporeans but most importantly, she did the job right.

My usual set of fish and chips were okay. It was a bit too oily (well, what do you expect Rian?) but I kinda enjoyed it. Meanwhile, my wife decided to try something else. The grilled dory with chili crab sauce and it was much, much better.

The dory came in big, all bathed beautifully with the chili sauce, and served with vegetables and rice. Tried to snatch several of scoops from her plate and she became protective. Haha.. But that’s my wife! A foodie like Joey Tribbiani.

Anyway, I was happy to clear her plate up since she became full quite fast. At any rate, it was always a pleasant thing to do with her with all these foodie adventures.

Next time, I might be trying the Fish & Co. in Singapore. first. It’s not yet halal-certified in Indonesia and I pretty much like to have it with some peace of mind. Or, Long John Silver’s, maybe you could come here instead.

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LONG JOHN SILVER’S
Halal-certified
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Check the website for addresses and menu

Opening hours: Daily, 7.30am or 8am (at selected outlets) – 10pm

Quikskoop™: 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken – Singapore

Turns out that the original American-style fried chicken became the true winner in Jakarta. Back then, there’s a sharp competition between BonChon and 4 Fingers but seems to me that both have run out of energy. The latter even decided to pull out of Jakarta completely, leaving only Medan to fend off itself in Indonesia’s savage competition in food industry.

Then came KyoChon with all its mighty weaponry as the biggest business in South Korea and its trendy presentation of K-Pop stars to always please its customers. This one is strong in the Force but there’s no telling how long Korean-style fried chicken will actually last the competition. I am hoping sincerely that it will be long enough.

Ignoring the whole fuss about industry analysis for now, let’s take a look at 4 Fingers in its own homeland Singapore. I was quite lucky to find that there’s an outlet of this magical fried chicken shop at ION Orchard while doing some shopping there, and it brought us real joy to see it again finally!

The outlet was small and packed with everyone lunching there and it was weekend to make things worse. However, the service was quick, the menu was more varied than Indonesia, and we finally got ourselves a dining table.

As always, they gave out the buzzer so when it rings, it’s time to pick up the food from the kitchen.

My wife had the mixed chicken with both sauces and rice. Meanwhile I had the katsu sandwich. Both of us enjoyed it but agree that the taste in Indonesia was stronger and up to our liking more. Surely it’s because our demanding tongues wanted more flavor and it’s a bit mild here in Singapore.

My sweet fried bread with chopped chicken katsu and salad was quite fulfilling. The rice itself was okay and the chicken was crispy and good as always. Again, the flavor strength was still the main issue. Even the Heaven and Earth iced lemon tea was subpar when compared with Indonesian Burger King’s.

In any case, it was nostalgic and pretty much consoling our hearts from all the dismay upon witnessing that 4 Fingers is no longer in Jakarta. A bit pessimistic though that it will come back again one day but at least, there’s always one in Singapore to treat us from this misery.

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4 FINGERS CRISPY CHICKEN SINGAPORE
Halal-certified
Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address (Singapore only):

  • ION Orchard
  • Plaza Singapura
  • Westgate
  • Changi Terminal 3

Website

Opening hours: Daily, 10am – 10pm

C’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant: Making the best out of the meat (mise en place, Vol. 12 – 2015)

The all wooden décor and the commanding presence of open kitchen for grilling, pizza making, dim sum steaming, and a station for woks suggest that C’s intertwines various dining concepts. From another angle, eight fish tanks with coolers for oysters and crustaceans join in the ensemble to show that the restaurant is equally serious with seafood. The creative take on every corner proves C’s has successfully married fine-dining, a steakhouse, and even some may say – an elegant seafood shack; all encased beautifully behind a façade of a five-star hotel signature restaurant.

mise en place - C's Steak & Seafood Restaurant (5)

Take a conventional and straightforward business lunch; steak would be a good option. Or it may present an array of grilled items and fresh seafood for a casual Sunday brunch and at times, an experimental menu for more appreciative crowds (for example; a gourmet approach of s’mores and marshmallow) It also makes room for fine-dining moments.

Chefs Rolf Knecht as the Executive Chef of the hotel and Matt Demery as the frontman in C’s demonstrate how best of ingredients, finesse in cooking techniques and technology meet. Chef Matt showed us the short ribs – cooked overnight in an MKN FlexiCombo MagicPilot. Previously, he employed an overnight marination by using C’s signature housemade sauce and Coca Cola, until he then simply set manually the oven setting for slow braising. “With the short ribs, I specifically wanted to achieve an evenly cooked meat all the way through. I set the temperature at 70C for 24 hours straight for the braising”, says the chef.

mise en place - C's Steak & Seafood Restaurant (1)

In contrast with a regular conventional oven, the results are more desirable and accurate for any slow cooking process. “For the short ribs, I hope to accomplish a good character of a slowly braised meat but at a medium temperature. There’s a combination of 20% of steam and 80% of dry heat during the process”, explains the chef. C’s also employs the use of sous-vide cooking for certain cuts of beef. “We can always use the sous-vide for our products but when it comes to a large number of portions, our MKN assists so much in terms of capacity and the features that it possesses”, says Chef Matt.

mise en place - C's Steak & Seafood Restaurant (4)

To sum it all up, this harmonious synergy between techniques and technology is what defines C’s. From a simple shucking of the very fresh Fine de Claire oysters, Chinese style fried rice and spring rolls, and up to a multiple cooking stages for Wagyu cheek and other prime cuts of beef; it is a complexity that is well-managed. “I would say that our style here at C’s is a combination of techniques that people have been using for the past 100 years, something from what were taught in culinary schools, my expertise as a chef, and of course – technology”, concludes Chef Matt.


C’s STEAK & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Halal-friendly (some menu may contain alcohol)
Some menu are suitable for vegetarians

Address:
Grand Hyatt, Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta – Indonesia

T: +62.21.2970.4981 ext. 438

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Opening hours:
Daily, 12pm – 3pm (lunch), 6pm – 10.30pm (dinner)


As featured in mise en place Vol. 12 (2015)