Sunday, April 22, 2007
Cuisine of the rising sun
Running a Japanese restaurant to the success end needed the owner heart and soul in his business philosophy as Japanese culinary art always refers to both arts and taste. Although we don't expect 100% authentication for those Japanese restaurants aim for local market in Bangkok; but freshness of ingredients esp. on sashimi and sushi, and cleanliness of the shop and kitchen are not to be overlooked by the management. Those followed the formula led themselves to a great success. Competition after many years promoted two major chains in Thailand continue to prove their enthusiasm in offering Bangkok and upcountry eaters elementary Japanese fare at a competitive price. They are the Fuji and Zen together with around forty branches throughout Thailand.
When I was first brought to the Fuji (Fuji in Bangkok is not related to the one in Japan) some twenty years ago when it was still 'small, I foresee that Fuji will earn a success in the future judging by their fully illustrated menu (photo menu) of which easy for non-Japanese to understand what to order, good quality on the food (as taste and cooking method tended to match with local's appreciation but didn't lose the Japanese culinary spirit) and unbeatable price an advantage for the local consuming power. Simply the owner does run Fuji with a heart.
It may not be my favorite Japanese restaurant in Bangkok, but still worth a visit to eat with friends, no matter they are visitors or locals, that Fuji is an eatery in inexpensive charge with reasonable Kanto treat though not awesome.
When Japanese cuisine has been mentioned, we immediately considered some sushi (raw fish on bed of Japanese sushi rice cube) and sashimi (raw fish in bite-size portion). Last week I went to Fuji with friends (again), we started with avocado sushi train, California maki, salmon roll with pink caviar sauce, assorted Nigiri sushi topped with sweet shrimp, seaweed, fish roe and squid, sashimi boat medium (of five kinds of raw fish and seafood). Chilled sashimi came on a bed of crushed ice in the boat were fresh and tasted naturally sweet, so did the sushi, fair enough for the price.
Moving to appetizers, we had the avocado salad, deep-fried salmon salad, agedashi tofu (deep-fried tofu in tempura sauce), and gyoza (pan-fried dumplings with ground pork and chopped vegetable stuffing). The deep-fried salmon salad was a nice blend of traditional and contemporary one yield a welcoming taste. The gyoza has better quality than most eateries we sampled in Bangkok. Both sashimi and the appetizers dishes were satisfying.
For mains, we picked tiger prawn and mixed veggie teppanyaki, squid teriyaki, prawn tempura, chicken teriyaki and salmon steak. Simply yummy therefore need your further exploration to prove my word.
Before we can conclude the meal with desserts and fruits, we needed some carbohydrate first. We ordered grilled eel rice, soba mori (chilled plain buckwheat soba), sabusabu beef, and a set of Fuji bento. Sauce on the grilled eel was aromatic, lightly sweet and not overly salty, as, the chef had controlled the seasoning with a skill. Soba was a bit too soft due to overcooked, but Thai people fond of such soft texture when soba, udon or even spaghetti was considered; what can we say!
Because locals like sweet, very sweet; so desserts in Thailand always present in overly sweet compared to Japanese or European standard, so did at Fuji. Therefore we skipped the desserts and ordered some fruits, and more fruits.
Choices of sake in Fuji were quite limited, as Thais (still) are not familiar with this supreme Japanese rice wine. Green tea in Fuji tasted like those bottled ones sold in supermarkets, so we took bottled mineral water instead during a meal at Fuji.
Judging by its price the quality of food is decent and the service is prompt and attentive. Ambiance in Fuji may enchant diner a good appetite; it is modern, bright and cheerful. Therefore Fuji is very popular among Thai youngsters and white collars as well as family dining.
Fuji Japanese Restaurant ***
branches throughout Thailand in major shopping centers
Open daily : (most branches) 10 am - 10 pm
Pay (food only for two): around THB 400