The Enak Extra at the Yoshifuku, Courtyard Garden Japanese Restaurant at Menara HAP SENG was hosted by Kyoko Hidaka and assisted by Francien Lucas on 14 September 2023. As planned, about 25 Enakkers met up at around 11.30am at the premise. The management of the restaurant normally could seat 20 but placed extra seats as more members requested to join this event. This kind gesture is highly appreciated.
As explained by Kyoko, the lunch was set as Bento which is served in a box. A bento box is a Japanese single-portion boxed meal consisting of several different food types. Bento boxes have multiple compartments, allowing the preparer to separate the various foods into neat and aesthetically-pleasing portions. In Japan the concept of “Bento” was started about 450years ago when Japan was in war and Nobunaga Oda, a famous military commander then carried his food in lacquered boxes.
There are various types of Bento Box Lunches. We were served the Shokado Bento. The Shokado is a widely used type of box, square in shape and divided into four equal sections, is known as “Shokado Bento.” It is named after Shokado Shojo (1584–1639), a Buddhist monk, artist, and calligrapher who lived in Yawata almost four hundred years ago. The others bento boxes listed are the Ekiben, Konbini, Koraku, Kyaraben, Hinomaru and Aisai.
Before the food was served we were introduced to Chef Ogawa and his assistant. Chef Ogawa added to the lively ambience with his naïve sense of humour which had all of us in stitches! Kyoko gave a short introduction of the bento meal before the food was served. The explanation is illustrated below in the diagram.
Special Bento for ENAKERS
Chawanmushi, Miso Soup and Tsukemono
The Chawanmushi is a starter and it’s a savoury steamed egg custard with crab, mushroom and chicken. It has a very delicate texture. The Miso Soup had a deep savoury flavor with a toasty salty-sweet richness. It has the typical umami flavor which forms the base of a lot of Japanese cooking. The Tsukemono are pickles and they taste sour and salty and they are served to balance a meal.
|The Nama Harumaki are fresh rice paper rolls with some filling that is packed with flavours and a variety of textures and goes very well with the Goma Dressing which is made with roasted sesame and tahini paste. The Imo Manju Momiji is a potato and shrimp paste dumpling floating in a light clear liquid. Very delicately flavoured, with a smooth texture and a delicious pleasant taste.
Ebi, Okura, Baby Corn and Tempura. The Ebi, is a shrimp, the Okura and Baby Corn are just basic okra and baby corn coated in a thin batter and fried until lightly crisp. These are served with a sweet-salty dipping sauce and really delightful to the palate
Jako Gohan no Japanese meal is complete without the sticky, fluffy rice which is usually sprinkled with fried onions, flakes and spring onions.
The Saba Shioyaki is slightly salted and grilled mackerel served with lemon slices. One does get the strong natural smell of the mackerel. The Dashimaki Tamago is a rolled omelet. The eggs are flavoured with dashi. Dashi is a combination of kombu (kelp seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), but other ingredients used to make dashi are shiitake mushrooms and niboshi (small dried fish). Dashi making has evolved over a long period of time in Japan. The cooking and rolling technique of the omelet takes only about 20 minutes.
The last compartment in the Bento Box are the Imo Youkan. Imo is potato and yokan is a type of Japanese confection. Imo yokan is a Japanese gelatin made with Japanese sweet potato called satsuma-imo. It is a perfect snack to enjoy with a cup of green tea. The Fruit served was a slice of juicy orange and a seedless grape.
The overall response to the food was very positive as everyone enjoyed the meal in the chirpy lively atmosphere. Kyoko and the staff were very helpful in helping us in explaining and answering our questions. Kyoko also explained of the swan origami that was placed on the tables were for us to take back as it is a symbol of good luck.
The Enak Conveyor, Ms. Rosemary Chin updated the members of the future Enak program with a short quiz. After the photo session, some jokes and even an impromptu twirling the event was adjourned at around 2.30pm.
Jalan P Ramlee Lot 2-04 Level 2 Courtyard Garden, Menara Hap Seng
50250 Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur
Review by Jagdev Kaur