Japanese Cuisine in Dhaka: Introducers of culinary art per se

Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, October 6th, 2016


 

With the increase in appreciation for fresh, foreign, exotic tastes among the city dwellers, our beloved Dhaka has continuously been seeing the influx of new restaurants of all sorts and kinds. While the mushrooming of international fast food chains along with their local counterparts continued, people kept on seeking more aesthetic and genuine tastes.

 

For the last couple of years a few restaurants made their debut with the vow of offering authentic Japanese cuisine- a cuisine very different from our local cuisine and almost unfamiliar to our taste buds. Though unfamiliar, Japanese cuisine has gain fast pace among the foodies especially among those who are very meticulous and aware of their platter.

 

SAMDADO

 

Whenever Japanese food is mentioned in our beloved capital, the first name that pops in the mind of any food evangelist is undoubtedly Samdado. Starting on January 2003, Samdado was the first Japanese cuisine restaurant of its kind in the city and since then has earned a special place in the minds of the sushi lovers across the city.

 

Samdado, the Japanese word for the three islands, is cozily decorated with wooden floor, traditional rice paper windows, skin colored tables and chairs and appropriate oriental paintings and artworks. The low intense lighting provides the perfect relaxing and comfy atmosphere which soothes the mood immediately. The restaurant offers five separate rooms for food lovers who want privacy at their parties.

 

Samdado takes pride in their authentic Japanese dishes along with the Korean soups that it offers. Japanese cuisine differs starkly from our local cuisine in their preparation procedure if not ingredient-wise. Low on spice, the cuisines mainly depends on sauces of different arrays which brings a very bona-fide oriental flavor and tastes to your taste buds. The menu at Samdado changes every four months to be at par with the customer’s preferences and to meet the seasonal variances. The menu here is highly varied – from classic sushi, sashimi to tempura, teriyaki to different types of rolls and what not! A lot of dishes use rice and seaweed mixed with soy sauce, one of the primary sauces which is also very healthy. Samdado heavily relies on imported ingredients to offer the best dishes to its exciting customers which result in higher prices. The fishes like salmon, tuna, red sniper that are used for the sushi are imported from Australia, rice from Japan and local vegetables and fruits are used to ensnare the freshness of the produce. Besides the usual sitting arrangement, Samdado introduced ‘sushi bar’’ where single foodies can order all the sumptuous foods directly to the chefs and enjoy in the already existing friendly ambience.

 

Without mentioning the signature sushi dish of Samdado, this review will remain incomplete terribly! The sushi dish is served on a decorated wooden platter which tastes like beyond anything that our Bengali taste buds are familiar with. So it’s better to start with something that is cooked like shrimp or salmon so that you prepare yourself for this far Eastern flavor. There are also all sorts for rolls, Maki and Shushi- both of which offer different varieties. If you are up for a small taste of everything then go for the mixed Sushi or Sushi & Sashimi Combo which comes in small, medium and large pieces. You can of course order your preferred dish separately once you get the tastes of all. The Sushi Combo ranges within Tk 800 to Tk 1650 while the Sushi & Sashimi Combo ranges from Tk 1550 to Tk 3200.

 

Since its inception, Samdado didn’t branch out across the city or country and also didn’t change its location. With the days passing and gaining popularity, somehow the restaurant seems less spacious especially during dinner times when there’s a considerable rush of customers. The restaurant is yet to offer their catering services outside of their premises. While most prominent eateries in the city are heavily marketing through Facebook, Samdado seems to be slackening on this aspect and are yet to open any Facebook page or website to provide their information online.

 

All in all Samdado brought Japanese tastes to our Bangali taste buds and consistently and continuously itinerating its menus and dishes to offer the best Japanese cuisine to the food-loving Dhakaites.

 

WASABI

 

One of the coolest restaurants of the city in terms of almost everything, Wasabi offers the fusion of aesthetic modern Japanese and Californian.

 

From the stunning art deco building to the interior design to the dining arrangements Wasabi brings its signature in unparalleled ways. Starting its journey on 29th July 2010 Wasabi has already come to be known as not only as one of the best authentic Japanese restaurants in the city but also as a great place to spend time at.

 

A concern of Bellagio limited, Wasabi puts modern twists in every aspects of its being. The artful play of mirror, bamboo, brick and wooden floor has enhanced the ambience of the restaurant by a great degree and the colorful lights at night take the view to a whole new level. Wasabi offers three different dining areas- sushi, teppanyaki and waterfall.

 

Wasabi serves a myriad of appetizers that comes in both hot and cold. The hot appetizers involves chicken, vegetables, prawns and mushrooms whicle the cold appetizers and sashimi include treats like Edamame  (soy beans with sea salt flake), Hiyayako  (cold tofu, dried bonito flakes, ginger cilantro, green onion), Oysters, Lobster Sashimi, etc.  The sushi part of the menu has about a dozen of items. Besides the regular tuna and salmon, there are special items like fried oysters, sea eel, and sesame sprinkle. Wasabi’s signature dishes like Sea Scallops, Peppered Salmon, Tuna Steak, Haramasi King Fish deserve a special note. Besides all these Wasabi offers teriyakis like chicken, beef and salmon where it brings the touch of Californian flavor. Wasabi is also serving a selection of Japanese desserts like Green Tea, Cheese Cake, Almond Banana Tempura and of course the famous Chocolate Pave- which is the most popular dessert at Wasabi.

 

Teppanyaki brings a whole new experience to not only sushi lovers but also the city restaurant experiences. Guess what? You can actually see the Japanese and Thai chefs cooking your ordered food in front of you before being served at the teppanyaki tables! There are three such tables which can accommodate 10 people per table. The teppanyaki set menu includes beef, fish, seaford, chicken, rice and miso soup. Unlike most restaurants Wasabi has a separate smoking zone- the waterfall. It is the extended part of the Bellagio building with glass surroundings all around.

 

Wasabi uses all imported ingredients from Australia, Thailand, and New Zealand which is the reason behind its high prices. The sauces and spice mix are imported from Japan to bring the authentic flavor in its dishes. On average it requires about Tk 5500 including vat per person to savor Wasabi meal. According to the Wasabi management, the restaurant doesn’t participate in any kind of promotion activities to endorse the restaurant rather they rely solely on word-of-mouth marketing. They believe that serving their customers in the best unique way will do the trick. They also believe in aspect of everything from tastes to décor to service quality their only competition are the five-star hotels of the city.

 

The name Wasabi is coined from a famous Japanese spice sauce and the restaurant is truly a great experience with its elegance and sublime tastes which should be a no-miss for every sushi lovers out there.

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