By Mohd Mursi on November 12, 2015
The Evolution Of Izakaya
Izakaya refers to a bar or rather a place to hang out and gather in Japan, and like the country, it has evolved from the old days when Japan was a country closed to all foreigner influence. Modern Japan’s Izakayas now feature varied offerings that have been shaped by significant cultural influences with the passing of time and generations, and this reflects the fusion of flavours presented in the recently revamped menu at Aka Chochin Izakaya without compromising its traditional essence.
As such, although Aka Chochin specialises in Japanese cuisine, it intends to bring diners on a total culinary journey where they can experience taste sensations from different countries through the use of ingredients, techniques and recipes that have already become common staples in Japan. In this East meets West collision of flavours, China, Korea, India and the southeast region of Asia are among the first to influence modern Japanese cooking, followed by the European countries, mainly Portugal in the beginning and Italy in recent times.
Off To An Appetising Start
For a light and tasty start, warm up with Aka Chochin’s signature Sambal Edamame. Spicing things up with an exotic twist, the restaurant has taken this traditional Japanese snack and stir-fried it with a light chili and garlic sambal to give it the extra heat that Malaysians all so love.
Bringing diners back to the restaurant’s origins, Aka Chochin sets the journey in motion with Japan’s trademark food – the Sashimi. Treat your palates to fresh and delicate bites from a traditional sashimi platter composed of air-flown Japanese Kampachi (yellowtail), Tuna Akami (lean Big-eye tuna) and Tasmanian Salmon.
Delight further in thinly sliced Suzuki (Japanese seabass) with a Yuzu Truffle dressing, Shiso and flowers inspired by the mutual influence between Japan and France during the Modern Cuisine movement. This is followed by the Hamachi Tiradito, the latest form of the Japanese delicacy which evolved from the 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese in Peru and Brasil. This Nikkei (mixed heritage) dish shares its roots with the Peruvian ceviche and Japanese sashimi, blending local flavours with Japanese ingredients and techniques.
Beautiful Flavours With Diverse Heritage
With China being the country that influences Japanese cuisine the most, the more typical Japanese dishes such as Ramen and Gyoza have significant Chinese origins. This is also seen in the arrival of rice and tea to Japan through Korea from China. Delving further into the journey at Aka Chochin, find a pang of familiar Chinese flavours as you sink your teeth into the restaurant’s signature Black Cod and Prawn Gyoza that also features a light touch of Japanese curry in its blend.
On the other hand, the Nasu Dengakku (Miso grilled Eggplant), a vegetarian grilled dish incorporating a special miso blend with Sansho pepper and sweet Aka miso traces back to the time when Japan was under the Buddhist influence and was a very strict vegetarian country for a long period of time. Derived from Korea and Japan’s long span of mutual influence, Aka Chochin’s Spicy Lobster Miso is a unique and well-balanced concoction featuring Korean Gochujang and Japanese Shiro miso.
Following these heritage trails, Japanese cuisine’s earliest European influences trace back to Portugal where the Japanese observed Portuguese sailors drenching small fishes in flour and deep-frying them. As such, this Southern European style is believed to have not only inspired the dish, but also the name, Tempura which is loosely based on the Indian word, Pakora (fried snack) that the Portuguese picked up from their colony in Goa.
As all countries have a tradition of grilling food, in Japan the most common charcoal grills are called Robata and the most popular item is the Yakitori, a chicken thigh skewer with leek, basted repeatedly with a sweet and salty tare sauce which Aka Chochin never fails to deliver perfectly. Diners will also find absolute delight in the Yakiniku Galbi with Oden Vegetables, the restaurant’s grilled beef dish which comes highly recommended.
Complete your meal at Aka Chochin with the Salmon Udon Carbonara which features a classic Italian carbonara sauce, fresh udon and roasted salmon topped with Salmon roe (Ikura), or the Chili Padi Takana Fried Rice with pickled Japanese vegetables and added flavour of local chili padi according to traditional Japanese dining style which usually serves rice and noodle dishes only towards the end of the meal. And last but not least, the natural distinct flavours of the Green Tea Tiramisu will bring the dining experience at Aka Chochin to a sweet closure. Which is a personal favourite and a must try!
An Izakaya Dining Experience
Choose from beer, soju, sake or other specialty drinks to complete your dining experience at Aka Chochin and enjoy it with great company as most dishes are served in accordance to the Izakaya spirit on a sharing base. Indulge in a unique culinary experience and treat your taste buds to contemporary Japanese flavours across countries as Chef Miguel’s showcases his vast expertise via the new menu offerings at Aka Chochin Izakaya.