There are days when things aren’t so bad. There are days when things do get rough. And then there are the days when shit hits the fan. When those days hit me, I read to take my mind off troubled times. Or I sleep it off. But sometimes those things don’t work. When they don’t, I find that eating helps. Not just stuffing my face silly with fast food and junk food. No. I have standards.
On those days, I go to Sushi Tei. My favourite sushi restaurant that can be found either in Mid Valley or Tropicana City Mall.
Those are the days when I’d browse the menu for my favourite Japanese dishes. Thank God these days don’t always come or I’ll be broke before my next salary gets banked into my account!
So that’s where I went last Thursday with my husband. I wasn’t feeling crummy but that day I felt like treating myself. Yes, on my bad hair days, I usually have sushi whether it’s for lunch or dinner. But there are the good days too, when I want to celebrate a milestone or an achievement, I’d treat myself to some sushi. Here are the dishes that we had on that amazing day!
My husband has never been one to order salad as his main course but when my parents ordered a sashimi salad at Rakuzen and he had some, he’s been hooked ever since.
Now when we have our meals at Sushi Tei, his first order is a salad. He’s tried a variety in their menu, from the standard sashimi salad to the yakiniku salad. That day, he ordered the soft shell crab salad. It was fantastic!
The soft shell crab sat atop a bed of lettuce, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, looking as crispy and crunchy as ever. Even the roasted sesame dressing that he drizzled all over the leaves and crab didn’t make it less crunchy.
In fact, when I stole a piece and chewed on it, a burst of flavour overwhelmed my tastebuds! The crunchiness of the soft shell crab and the roasted sesame dressing was a really good combination! I had to stop myself from stealing the rest of the pieces since that was his main course and not mine.
My order was, as usual, the cha soba. It was either this or zaru soba. I never liked the idea of eating cold noodles until I tried a Korean version of it. The Korean cold noodles had a bunch of other ingredients that accompanied the noodles, mostly vegetables.
But the cha soba arrived plain, as shown above. A generous portion of green tea noodles (cha means tea in Japanese) with condiments on the side and a small bowl or choko of cold dipping sauce.
According to Hakubaku,
Cha soba noodles are soba noodles made from buckwheat and wheat flour with the added ingredient of fresh green tea leaves. In Japan, cha soba is considered a delicacy and is only consumed on very special occasions (now you see why I order it whenever I have sushi). Both buckwheat and green tea are considered by many to have substantial health benefits as a regular part of a diet. Cha soba is packed in light-proof foil packaging to protect the nutritional value of the tea, which begins to degrade when exposed to oxygen or light, and to keep the fresh flavour of the green tea.
I’m not sure when I started ordering cold soba at Japanese restaurants. There was a time when I did while having dinner with my family and relatives, they were surprised that I went with what seemed like an unusual dish to them. These days, it’s not uncommon for me to have cold soba noodles on days I don’t feel like having sushi or sashimi.
But how on earth do you eat it? After all, it’s not the same as having a bowl of hot noodle soup where you wait for it to cool down a bit before attempting a forkful or chopstick-ful of noodles. This is a dish that comes with a bed of noodles placed on top a few ice cubes!
Well, let’s just say that my technique is probably not the right way but I picked up what little I could from watching other people eat.
There are proper ways of how to enjoy cold soba but all I do on a regular basis is add the condiments into the cold dipping sauce and stir. The condiments include a dollop of wasabi, chopped spring onions, a few strips of seaweed, and a quail’s egg.
I usually add everything except the spring onions since I don’t particularly like eating it. Once the dipping sauce is ready, I help myself to a small portion of noodles, dip it and slurp it. However, if you want to eat like a true Japanese, hop on to this link for the tips.
Or you can watch the video below from Savor Japan on how to eat cold soba with the help of a Japanese chef:
After the main course meals arrived, we added on some side dishes. Another favourite Japanese delicacy that I love to order is the gyoza or Japanese dumplings served with a small bowl of citrus soy sauce. I’ve yet to try the ebi gyoza or prawn dumplings, though. So far, I’ve only ever ordered the chicken dumplings.
Pan fried to perfection, these delectable Japanese potstickers taste so good when eaten hot. I usually wait until the food has cooled down a little before attempting to eat them, but these babies are best eaten hot after dipping into the sauce.
This is yet another dish that you can experience a burst of flavour in your mouth. Your tongue will be dancing with joy! Sushi Tei serves it better than Sushi Zanmai, whose gyoza are small in size and stuffed with much less meat than Sushi Tei.
Our last side dish was a trio of shishamo. Also known as willow leaf fish, shishamo is a saltwater fish or smelt measuring about 15cm in length. It is generally dark on the back with a silver-white underside.
In Japanese cuisine, this fish can be served grilled or fried whole and comes with its roe intact. That’s the best part about eating it. A lemon wedge accompanies the smelt fish but I rarely ever squeeze the lemon juice on it. I just have them on its own, dipped into my wasabi-mixed soy sauce or the citrus soy sauce that comes with the gyoza.
Everything consumed above was washed down with a cup of hot green tea. Dinner that night was the best I ever had!
If I ever want to have another memorable sushi night, I’ll be sure to make a beeline for this place. Never again will I set foot into Sushi Zanmai where I feel the standard has dropped and the quality of its food is no longer the same as before. I went home, satisfied and content.