Monday, November 28, 2016

Sushi Masato - 4 Valuable Lessons in the World of Omakase

When it comes to Japanese food, I am no know-it-all. My wife doesn't take raw food, and I wander around Bangkok with 2 little kids in tow, so my knowledge is pretty much limited to the reliable family chains (eg. Maisen, Ootoya, Yayoi etc.) and Ramen, oh, how I loooove good Ramen....

Blink, and you will miss it.
On 11/11, things would dramatically change. With some divine intervention, the stars aligned, and I had the opportunity to build up my Japanese food knowledge once and for all at Sushi Masato, the only place I know thus far that actually set up an email address explicitly named "waitinglist" for those yearning for a seat at Chef Masato's counter.

Without boring you with the details of every course (for those interested, I will be writing them on another space), I would like to share a few points that left a deep impression during my first proper Omakase experience.

1. Freshness and rarity of ingredients

I am a firm believer that the best food is usually the one that is made by the freshest ingredients which are not prepared over-elaborately. Sushi Masato literally brings this to another level. Even though sushi is really nothing more than a fresh piece of fish placed over some well-cooked rice, the effort to fly the best produce in from the Tsukiji Market 5 days a week and making sure they enter your mouths at the peak of their freshness is worth much appreciation.

Throughout the 24-course dinner that consisted predominantly of seafood, I cannot use the word "fishy" as a description for any single course. I also expected to taste the unexpected, and I was not disappointed. Some worthy mentions are the monkfish liver pate, shirako (cod fish sperm) and the pleasantly-surprising shiro ebi where the sweetness of the little shrimps danced and developed in your mouth as you chew along.

2. Techniques

Aside of impeccable knife and sushi-assembly skills, I wanted to see more. In many establishments, blowtorches are commonly used to sear sashimi when required. At Sushi Masato however, blowtorches are deemed to impart the smell of gas to the fish, and thus they use hot charcoal to achieve the desired effect.

And of course, there's the shari, the flavoured sushi rice, notoriously known to be the hardest to master for a sushi chef.  Here, it's nicely seasoned, slightly brownish in colour and served to you warm, which was a nice touch as I do not like cold meals.

Perfect picture to showcase the rice. You can separate every grain of rice if you wanted to.

3. Uni

And then there's Uni, the much renowned delicacy of the sea which I never really had a chance to enjoy. It's always either too little (in the Chirashi Dons) or overly fishy and heavy (like some over-aged cheese).

Chef Masato introduced 2 types of Uni during the meal, 1 of which is simply soaked in sea water, and will disintegrate within hours after opening if not consumed.

Uni drained and served on a soup spoon.

Wow. Bursts of the sea in my mouth. I finally understand what Uni is all about, but how, just how can I bring myself to eat any other relatively-inferior grades of Uni after this?

4. Chef's personal flair

Omakase literally means 'up to the chef'. Enjoy anything that the chef serves you on the day. For this to work, ideally you need a chef with personality. Chef Masato has a good command of English. He explains every dish to the diners and gets his staff to show us exactly what fish he's serving with a seafood/sushi encyclopedia.

I would love to have sat closer to him to have more personal interaction, but he made use of his minimal opportunities to show me some of his flamboyance.

All in all, the adventure to Sushi Masato was certainly a worthwhile experience. It not only made sure that my very first Omakase experience was a proper one, it also allowed me to understand the spirit of Japanese cuisine, and taught me how good sushi should taste like.

As of 11/11 this year, the next available slot at Sushi Masato is in April 2017, so I would hereby like to thank Nack and Jacq for making it so effortless for me to warm one of Chef Masato's much sought-after seats.

Khop khun mak khrup.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Noah's Book of Jokes Volume 2 (with special guest appearance by Ellie)

Sudden Death

Was talking to Noah about what he should do if I pass away.
"Daddy, before you die, can you call Li Kunqi yiyi to come first"
Eh son, please la. If I manage to die slowly, of course I will settle everything swee swee (nicely) for you before I go and see God right.
But I might go suddenly ma. God might summon me suddenly.
Suddenly, I realise I hope the teacher quickly teaches him the meaning of the word suddenly. In a better way than how I can teach him.

Defining torture

Is when you need to pee badly.
But your son says he needs to too, and you bring him to the cubicle to see and hear him pee before you.

What you doing Daddy? feat. little sister Ellie

Ellie pooped not once but twice tonight after I came home from work.
During the second poop clearing session in the shower, I was using my soapy hands to wipe her butt clean when she turned over to me, looked at me in my eyes before saying in her most serious tone.
"Daddy, what you doing?"
"Err... Poopoo 臭臭bye bye Ellie...."
She then smiled and turned away to continue playing with the stickers on the wall.

The Parenting Life Hack

Yesterday after dinner, Noah started to carefully remove the plates and bowls from the dining table and passed to me to put in the sink. I was so pleasantly surprised and asked him who taught him.
"You lor," he said.
"But I didn't."
"I see you clear the table everyday what."
OK, so this is a parenting life hack, don't teach them, show them.
But in case you find your kids wearing their boxer shorts around the house and farting all over the place, remember, no one taught them.

The Best Picture Ever

Noah, "this is the best picture ever"

Me,"but how come it is not complete?"
"No no, it's like that it's like that. I am very tired already it's finished already."
"OK. I will take a picture of it and put it on Facebook."
"No. You need to put it on the wall."

Too many cooking videos

Me: I am so tired I bring you home still gotta rush dinner out for you. I didn't get to rest.
Noah: If tomorrow I ask you to cook dinner again you need to do something.
Me: What.
Noah: Rest. Rest for 6 minutes.
So he treats me like a piece of seared steak.

The moment that convinced me that this is all worth it

Noah just told me before he slept:
Daddy. You are the nice Daddy that God made for me.


Also see, the even more hilarious Noah's Book of Jokes Volume 1.
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