Dining along again, and I usually would choose a Japanese izakaya or ramen place. But wanted some good fish, and wondered to Xianxia Road for some.
Merase, which is open until late at night, transports fresh fish and shellfish by air from Japan every day. Experienced chefs make it into superb fish dishes. There are many fish tanks in the store, where you can taste delicious live fish. The seasonal ingredients selected by the boss can let you taste “the most suitable for the present” even you are far away from Japan.
Started dinner with my ハイボール “highball”, but they do offer a good selection of sake and shochu.
かきのしぐれ煮 Simmered Oysters
A type of tsukudani (dish boiled in soy sauce) prepared by cooking seafood or meat in soy sauce, sugar, and ginger, using oysters raised the umami of level to another notch. Tasted like the 好市发财 “Oysters with hair moss”.
ホタルイカ沖漬け Marinated Firefly Squids
Firefly squid marinated in soy sauce is a speciality in Fukuyama. Most of the versions outside of Japan used cooked squids or came from bottled versions from Japan which were too salty. Only some good izakayas and sushiya managed to do it in house. They served this just like they would in Japan, and it murdered my highball very quickly.
刺身盛り合わせ Assorted Sashimi
鯵刺身 Horse Mackerel Sashimi
Horse mackerel or aji are available all year round, however the peak season for these fish is from June to August. During this period, the fish becomes fatty. Most of the skin were removed during preparation, leaving a pinkish, appealing flesh.
本鮪三種盛り Three kinds of tuna cuts
All three usual cuts of tuna were served – akami, chutoro and otoro. They were all from the bluefin tuna, but I was not sure if they were from Japan or closer like Taiwan. Anyway, very delicious, fresh and good flavours.
牛レバー刺し Beef liver sashimi and 馬刺し3種盛り Three types of horse sashimi
Rebasashi is a traditional Japanese sashimi dish made from raw liver. Not so long ago, most yakiniku, izakaya, and yakitori restaurants offered the dish on their menus, but it has been banned since 2012 as it’s not safe to eat raw liver, and the specialty disappeared from the menus. When served, this sashimi is usually accompanied by salted sliced onions and a dipping sauce consisting of sesame oil, garlic, chili, and soy sauce.
The practice of eating horsemeat isn’t something new in Japan. It was consumed in the late 1500s when Japan was facing food shortages. But the boom in modern-day consumption began in the 1960s, at the same time that the transportation scene started to change. On streets horses were replaced by cars; in agriculture, machines were also taking their jobs. Horse-farm owners in Kumamoto prefecture were trying to find a way to deal with their animal overpopulation. That was how basashi, or raw horse meat, hit the market.
I had a sense of remorse after I ordered this rebasashi, when I remembered that raw liver is a source of food poisoning. And especially in China where food safety records were not exactly prolific, this was really a Russian roulette like puffer fish. It came frozen and needed some time to thaw. When thawed, it was like a meat jelly, slightly sweet yet there was also a bloody, beefy taste. Not recommended in any future case.
Basashi earns the nickname sakura niku (pink meat) from its delicate pink color. For the best taste, the raw meat is eaten with grated ginger and sweet shoyu. Shredded daikon and shiso give the mellow meat a clean mouthfeel. Three cuts were presented (from top) – marbled steak cut, the fatty neck cut and the lean meat. It came thinly sliced and had a slightly tougher texture than beef tartare. The rare one was the incredibly soft, extremely fatty cut taken from the neck of the animal.
鰈唐揚げ Deep fried Flatfish
The flesh from the kirei was filleted and cut into piece. They were then battered with a Japanese karaage style coating and deep fried. I find the result under salted, but very crispy and nice. Served with a spicy radish and ponzu dip.
潮汁 Ushiojiro (Seafood Clear Soup)
I rounded up dinner with a simmering hot bowl of はまぐりの潮汁 Clear soup of clams. Unlike misoshiru, this clear soup hit the spot with its umami and lightness after a wonderful meal.
A hole in the wall type sushi-ya along Xianxia Road, it would face a lot of competition from other Japanese eateries along the stretch for the Japanese expat wallet. However, it sets itself apart from good, fresh fish from Japan, a clean interior that would remind one of home, and more important, friendly Japanese speaking staff.
Date Visited : Jul 2021