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Top 5 Sushi/Kaiseki Restaurants In Hong Kong (2012)

SenseofTouch Dec 5, 2012 05:26 AM

Hello,

I'm Chinese American working as a sushi helper in San Francisco, California. My primary interest is in Edomae Sushi and Kaiseki cuisine, both of which are uncommon here. I've had, for a while now, thought of going to Japan to study Edomae Sushi, but due to too many inconvenient factors, I've set my mind to Hong Kong instead, since I've heard it is regarded by many as the culinary capital of Asia and holds a good amount of top notch Japanese restaurants.

Therefore, I'm searching for an apprenticeship at the best place in Hong Kong. Since my family was originally from Hong Kong, I naturally have access to there and have some connections, whereas I have absolutely nothing in Japan, not even the ability to speak an adequate amount of Japanese. I speak fluent Cantonese, but no were near proficient nor can I read or write Chinese. I think training in Hong Kong, for me, would definitely be a step closer to true Edomae Sushi and Kaiseki Cuisine. It may even create a bridge for me to eventually study in Japan.

Anyway, what do you guys think in your honest opinions, are the top 5 authentic sushi bars and Kaiseki restaurants in Hong Kong?

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  1. K K RE: SenseofTouch Dec 5, 2012 10:29 AM

    3 Michelin star Sushi Yoshitake from Tokyo not too long ago opened up a branch in Hong Kong, (Sushi Yoshitake) and I believe Ryugin Tokyo's branch, 天空龍吟 opened up in the ICC...both HK branches just received 2 Michelin stars.

    Sushi Sase 鮨佐瀬 in Central is supposed to be pretty good.

    1. K K RE: SenseofTouch Dec 5, 2012 04:28 PM

      Here are two other washoku restaurants worth looking into:

      和食Naozen (Wellington Street Central 12-25)

      Nadaman - Shangri La Hotel in Tsim Sa Tsui

      1. k
        klyeoh RE: SenseofTouch Dec 5, 2012 10:14 PM

        I sometimes rely on H-K magazine (a weekly publication) to tell me about the newest places in Hong Kong. I've been an avid reader of its Singapore counterpart (I-S magazine) for years, and also the Bangkok version, B-K.

        Here's H-K's take on the top 10 Japanese joints in Hong Kong, which included some sushi & kaiseki spots:
        http://hk.asia-city.com/restaurants/a...

        11 Replies
        1. re: klyeoh
          Peech RE: klyeoh Dec 8, 2012 08:13 PM

          the list is very dated. Dorothy's no longer at HK Mag. Sushi U has long closed. I don't eat much sushi in HK as I find it to be very poor value for money. Taipei has much, much better Japanese food compared to HK. That said:

          For sushi I'd go to Sase, Kuu and maybe Hiro. Haven't been to Kenjo in years but that used to be my old standard.

          For kaiseki it's got to be either Ryugin or Wagyu Kaiseki Den. Nadaman is OK but not very exciting. Haven't found other places worth going.

          1. re: Peech
            K K RE: Peech Dec 9, 2012 10:25 AM

            What you say is very true about Taipei's Japanese food and execution in general, and in some cases even cheaper/better value than many places abroad!

            Nadaman is more kappo ryori than kaiseki, but both can be categorized as washoku in general.

            Here's Sushi Yoshitake Hong Kong's menu, of which the prices are outrageous (basically for that money you can eat very well at the top places in Taipei a few times over, even if non Michelin star, but already quite excellent).

            Rin 凛 HK$2,500 

            For those with a light appetite 

            3 appetizers, 7 sushi pieces and dessert

            Seasonal appetizer

            Seasonal sashimi

            Seasonal lightly grilled fish

            Miyabi 雅 HK$3,500

            Three-star menu as served in Tokyo 

            4 appetizers, 9 sushi pieces and dessert

            Seasonal appetizer

            Seasonal sashimi

            Seasonal lightly grilled fish or boiled octopus

            Steamed abalone (liver sauce)

            Ho 鳳 HK$4,500

            For serious sushi fans with a hearty appetite 

            5 appetizers, 11 sushi pieces and desserts

            Seasonal Appetizer

            Seasonal lightly grilled fish

            Boiled octopus

            Steamed abalone (liver sauce)

            Grilled fish

            An additional service charge of 10% applies

            More expensive than Masa in New York or Urasawa in Beverly Hills, even Sheung Wan real estate is astronomical.

            I guess I'll spend my money at Bo Innovation instead haha.

            1. re: K K
              u
              Uncle Yabai RE: K K Dec 9, 2012 04:25 PM

              Ouch. For that kind of moolah you can fly to Japan and have the real deal there...

              1. re: K K
                k
                klyeoh RE: K K Dec 9, 2012 05:50 PM

                Those prices are scandalous! But I guess many HKers are swimming in cash still.

                1. re: klyeoh
                  Charles Yu RE: klyeoh Dec 9, 2012 06:53 PM

                  When people are still routinely dishing out US3000+ for a 4 head Japanese Dried Abalone 'Kippin Pao' from Yoshihama at Fook Lam Moon. What Sushi Yoshitake is charging is just a drop in the bucket for them!!! Don't forget local house prices,has gone up by about 30% in the past couple of years!! For a luxury apartment, thats a few million bucks in profit! or lunch and dinner every day at Yoshitake for 3 years!!! :D!!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    K K RE: Charles Yu Dec 9, 2012 07:29 PM

                    I recall reading that Kyubey Ginza attempted opening a lesser known branch in HK, and omakase was HK$10,000 for the nouveau riche who grows money trees in their backyard....didn't that place close within the same year? :-)

                    Suddenly paying $1000++ for a large flower crab served cold chiu chow style (or with steamed with Fa Deew Chinese wine and egg white), or hairy crab roe sauce with noodles at Tin Heung Lau seems like a bargain! And dai pai dongs...here I come!

                    1. re: K K
                      Charles Yu RE: K K Dec 9, 2012 08:11 PM

                      Not to mention HK$1200 per slice of 'giant conch' in some of the Chiu Chow Restaurants!

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        K K RE: Charles Yu Dec 9, 2012 08:38 PM

                        Curious, how much does a steamed wild humpback grouper costs these days (in price range from low end to high end?) 清蒸老鼠斑?

                2. re: K K
                  SenseofTouch RE: K K Dec 10, 2012 02:20 AM

                  Yeah, and I thought Masa's the most expensive I've seen...

                  Anyway, thanks KK for your recommendations. I'll be moving to Hong Kong in a few weeks to begin my apprenticeship, but won't disclose which restaurant I got into. Just have to say this is a dream come true!

                  1. re: SenseofTouch
                    a
                    AngelSanctuary RE: SenseofTouch Dec 15, 2012 01:19 AM

                    Ooh I know you can't say which restaurant but can I ask how you got the apprenticeship? And what are the legal process you have to go through (like visas and stuff)?

                    1. re: AngelSanctuary
                      SenseofTouch RE: AngelSanctuary Dec 15, 2012 07:08 PM

                      I sent them an e-mail describing my interest in Edomae Sushi and how I wanted to pursue it, but wasn't able to develop the proper palette, skills, and knowledge if I remained in the states. They took interest in the e-mail and wanted to have a face-to-face conversation on Skype. Everything just flowed from there.

                      I'm actually entitled to permanent residency in HK because my mom was originally from there, so I don't need a visa to stay or work there.

            2. SenseofTouch RE: SenseofTouch Dec 6, 2012 01:38 AM

              Thanks a lot guys! This really helps. I plan to visit Hong Kong early next year and will definately check out some of these places. I've already contacted Sushi Yoshitake. I also checked Ryugin's website and they accept oversea apprentices!

              1. b
                Bu Pun Su RE: SenseofTouch Dec 16, 2012 07:22 AM

                Someone recommended me of Sushi Ta-Ke a couple of weeks ago

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bu Pun Su
                  K K RE: Bu Pun Su Dec 31, 2012 04:06 PM

                  Sase is by consensus the best in town based on talking with a few local gourmand friends here, but apparently Yoshitake is pretty good despite the hefty tag. With that said, Ta-Ke is actually no slouch. The trick is to make reservation ahead of time and request to sit in front of head chef Kimijia Yukio. But even as a walk in last night and sitting in front of one of the local chefs and chatting with him, he was also quite well versed and trained.

                  However if one is dead set with comparing with Tokyo standards (or even Taipei) based on price to performance ratio, it will always be an uphill battle and setup for disappointment. I basically came in with no exectations and really enjoyed it and if you put aside the sticker shock ane CWB real estate pricing. Coming from California, this place is easily better than anything I have access to. Service was very good and attentive, and it was interesting to see a modest lineup of seafood from Hokkaido and Kyushu.

                  The special new year's eve menu had a black bean appetizer, Hokkaido uni with sweet shrimp and caviar, Hokkaido hairy crab (kegani) that was excellent, sashimi course (after chatting with the chef he deviated from the set course and gave me kelp marinated kawahagi with a liver dip sauce), spiny lobster simmered dish, shirako, kanburi, several different cuts of toro, A5 kagoshma wagyu (seems to be a very popular high end ingredient these days, as raIronMen fusion upscale ramen is using that as their ramen ingredient and stock around the corner!), budou ebi, aka mutsu, and seared otoro sinew. The chef I had maybe was 2 or 3rd most senior but he did his job well. To me, quite a memorable experience.

                  The couple that sat next to me were very disappointed by their Ryugin ICC experience, and that the dining room tables were so close to each other it was as if they were eating at a cha chaan teng/HK café!

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