Flavour of Hanami @ ISETAN the Japan Store KL

3 February 2017
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It’s an honour for me to be invited to the exclusive Flavour of Hanami Live Presentation and Tasting session at Cube_1, Isetan the Japan Store Kuala Lumpur.

Flavour of Hanami

When I heard of Flavour of Hanami (Cherry Blossom), it makes me feel very intrigued and curious. How does it tastes like? Have you experienced it before?

Flavour of Hanami is an exhibition brought to you by Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd to showcase Hanami culture and Japanese traditions. From 21 January to 25 March, you will be able to experience the culinary skills from four young, dynamic chefs from Kyoto, Japan.

Sake Tasting @ Flavour of Hanami, ISETAN the Japan Store Kuala Lumpur

Sake Tasting

The first agenda, is green tea and sake tasting. I love the mild and pure taste of the green tea, it’s so different from what we usually had! I also tried MIO Sparkling Sake and Hana Kizakura Sake (Cherry Blossom Sake). Loved the sparkling sake as it has a refreshing fruity flavor!

A table where videos were projected onto it

A table where videos were projected onto it

There were 3 different zones in Cube_1 that showcase Hanami themed activities. The first one is “The Gallery“, where we were able to read facts, see photographs (i.e. the original Hanami bento boxes) and watch videos about the joyous cherry blossom festival.

Experiencing Hanami through HD video

Experiencing Hanami through HD video

We then entered the second zone, “The Theatre“, to watch a high definition short movie that was projected using the latest high tech projector. The video projected was so crisp and surreal. It gave us an insight into the four seasons in Japan and the history and foundation of Kyoto food, the best of all Japanese cuisine.

Simple but sweet speech from Xavier Mah, founder of X-Group

Simple but sweet speech from Xavier Mah, founder of X-Group

Our session was exclusively for members of X-Group and of course, the founder, Xavier Mah have to give a simple speech to give us a brief introduction of the event today.

Tête-à-tête session with Chef Shogo Sasaki of IZUU during Flavour of Hanami event

Tête-à-tête session with Chef Shogo Sasaki of IZUU during Flavour of Hanami event

Before the live demonstration, we had an interesting and fun tête-à-tête session with Chef Shogo Sasaki who is the 7th generation heir of IZUU Restaurant to learn about his background.

Established in 1781, IZUU is a Kyoto sushi restaurant that is famed for its signature mackerel sushi. Chef Sasaki aims to preserve the flavours and culture of Kyoto’s mackerel sushi and pass the recipe for generations to maintain the authentic taste.

Mr. Xavier Mah, Mr. Ken Fukutake, General Manager of Media Content Planning Department, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Chef Shogo Sasaki and Chef Takeshi Matsuo, head chef of IZUU Restaurant

Mr. Xavier Mah, Mr. Ken Fukutake, General Manager of Media Content Planning Department, Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd., Chef Shogo Sasaki and Chef Takeshi Matsuo, head chef of IZUU Restaurant

IZUU plays a part of Japan’s culinary history of being the first restaurant in the world to offer mackerel sushi! How awesome it is that we’re able to taste it in KL today.

Chef Sasaki prepares mackerel

Chef Sasaki prepares mackerel

At last, it’s time for the most anticipated agenda – live presentation! Chef Sasaki showed how he skillfully prepare the mackerel fish. In order to avoid “fishy” smell and taste, he removes the blood thoroughly and carefully.

Chef Shogo Sasaki demonstrates how he prepare Saba-sugatazushi

Chef Shogo Sasaki demonstrates how he prepare Saba-sugatazushi

We had the honor to witness Chef Sasaki prepare his two signature dishes – Saba-sugatazushi (Whole Mackerel Lightly Matured Sushi) and Chirasizushi (Scattered Topping Sushi).

Saba-sugatazushi (Whole Mackerel Lightly Matured Sushi)

Saba-sugatazushi (Whole Mackerel Lightly Matured Sushi)

The Saba-sugatazushi that was made by Chef Sasaki is very unique as the shape resembles the logo of IZUU, which is a rabbit. Look closely and you’ll know what I mean 😉

Freshly prepared Saba-sugatazushi vs. Overnight Saba-sugatazushi

Freshly prepared Saba-sugatazushi vs. Overnight Saba-sugatazushi

We were given 2 versions to try: One was prepared on the same day and another one was prepared a day before. The one that was prepared on the same day was nice, but the tastes of the ingredients didn’t blend together. The one that was prepared a day before (the authentic way) has a better taste because the umami-ness from the kelp and mackerel taste has seeped into the sushi rice. So yummy!

Chirasizushi (Scattered Topping Sushi)

Chirasizushi (Scattered Topping Sushi)

Well seasoned Chirasizushi is love! Spot all the different seafood toppings and thinly sliced eggs!

Enjoying my bowl of Chirasizushi

Enjoying my bowl of Chirasizushi

The venue got a little quiet as everyone was busy indulging in Chef Sasaki’s authentic and delicious Kyoto-style dishes.

Snippets from Instagram Stories for Flavour of Hanami @ ISETAN the Japan Store KL:

Sakura Mochi and a cup of Green Tea to conclude our session

Sakura Mochi and a cup of Green Tea to conclude our session

To conclude the perfect and memorable session, we had Sakura Mochi and a cup of warm Green Tea. The Sakura Mochi was wrapped with Cherry Blossom leaf (slightly salty flavour) while the inside was filled with red bean paste (slightly sweet flavour). The combination spells AWESOMENESS!

Here’s the schedule for Flavour of Hanami Live Presentation and Tasting session:

  • Shogo Sasaki of IZUU: 21 – 22 January 2017
  • Nobuyuki Tanaka of Tsuruse: 18 – 19 February 2017
  • Hideki Shimoguchi of Chikurin: 4 – 5 March 2017
  • Takuji Takahashi of Kinobu: 18 – 19 March 2017

Sessions: 1st 12.00pm-1.30pm/2nd 3.00pm-4.30pm/3rd 6.00pm-7.30pm

Entrance Fee: RM100* including GST

Terms and Conditions*:

  • 25 guests per session on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Doors will be opened 30 minutes prior
  • Exhibition admission is included in the price
  • Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult

Venue: 3F THE CUBE/CUBE _1 (ISETAN the Japan Store Kuala Lumpur)

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office in front of CUBE _1, call 03-2382 7777 or purchase online at www.eventbrite.com.