For some of you, seeing another japanese food post is like, “What?? Isn’t this supposed to be a Malaysian food blog??” Perhaps you’re right. And perhaps you’re wrong. Just like how the British claimed curry (or balti) as their national food, I’m hereby claiming Japanese food as my staple meal. The advent of Japanese food in Malaysia has created a cult following, and of late Korean food has enjoyed the same celebrity status. I am certainly not advocating that Japanese food replace Malaysian food, but I do welcome it as an additional item to our already diversified local cuisine. The cross-marrying of the various cultures in the early days have given us wonderful dishes. Why stop?And so, with the assistance of my ever helpful Japanese Food Kawan Association (JFKA), particularly our Secretary, Boo_licious, I was introduced to Izakaya Ichiban, a restaurant that had been open for approximately a month. I was accompanied by the bubbly Precious Pea whom I was interviewing that night for the post of Public Relations Officer for the Association. I had nothing to worry about. She passed with flying colours in two areas: 1. Her ability to eat more Japanese food as compared to the President, and 2. Her ability to charm the pants of anybody in a 10 foot vicinity.

salmon belly sashimi shishamo
kaki mayo yaki salmon belly sashimi

What I like about the food is the price. More importantly, the quality of the food at that price was unbelievable. Take for instance the Kaki Mayo Yaki, essentially grilled oysters with spicy mayonnaise sauce and sauteed mushrooms at RM15. Three pieces of juicy oysters served on a bed of mushrooms with an unbelievably tasty sauce that made us sigh with happiness. And the salmon belly sashimi, fresh and smooth on the palate, at RM28 was worth every cent paid. The shishamo (grilled capelin fish) is what I like to call a petrified fish. With the mouth wide open as if to yell “Help!”, and eyes as though they had seen hell, the shishamo can be quite scary to look at if you’re the type to appreciate a good horror movie. The Attack of the Shishamo. Okay, I know that’s corny. At RM11, it is the same price of a movie ticket in Malaysia but the taste may be more memorable than half the movies made in Hollywood these days. The shishamo is eaten whole with the egg sacs intact. Now that can be quite a sight as well for the horror movie enthusiast. Imagine the head tilted back as the slim fish is slowly lowered into the mouth and disappears down the throat.

wagyu beef don una-cheese maki
hawaiian maki

We thoroughly enjoyed the Wagyu Beef Don (RM28). The beef was tender and had a lovely sweet flavour provided by the marinade and the sauce. The Una-Cheese Maki (RM20), a rice roll filled with eel and topped with cheese, was nice but not outstanding. Sadly, the cheese slices looked like something one could purchase at a supermarket, individually wrapped! The Hawaiian Maki (RM18) came highly recommended. This was a salmon roll made with honeydew and apple mayo sauce. However, I found it rather tasteless; I was unable to taste the salmon and I felt that the flavours didn’t blend very well.

I would definitely like to come back to try Izakaya Ichiban’s lunch menu priced between RM18++ and RM33++. The ambience allows for a certain amount of privacy with private booths accommodating 4 people comfortably. Service is also attentive.

Izakaya Ichiban (2 doors away from Starbucks)
Lot P-3M, Plaza Ground Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre,
60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-6201 5905