I Love Japanese Food. For me, the only cuisine that is so focused on highlighting the Umami taste is Japanese cuisine. From Tea to the dessert, Umami is so important to them. I do not know why but Japanese are really good at this.
So in Kota Kinabalu, I usually went and eat at Sushi King. It was a franchise, you can find it at other places around Malaysia. Another one is Wojamama. Still, a franchise.
Some people says that Sushi Tei in Suria Sabah KK was good, never try that one.
Anyhow, my sister suggested me to a Japanese Restaurant located in Labuan, my hometown. The first Japanese restaurant in Labuan. Labuan as I know, was a small island and there is not many places to choose from as in big city as Kota Kinabalu. I am a bit skeptic about this restaurant my sister suggested to me. It was called Senkawa or Sengkawa...haha. I forgot the name of that restaurant.
It was located inside Labuan Water Sport park... We call it Taman Sukan Air... What is the exact name for that place?
This Small japanese restaurant perhaps can accommodate less than 30 person. Just a small restaurant.
I am so surprised that the food is beyond my expectation... It was better than Sushi King franchise or Wojamama franchise.
The interior is relaxing, japanese style decoration, a moving sushi belt, all wooden furniture inside. If you walk into Sushi King or Wojamama franchise, you will feel a rush to eat and leave like a japanese would do in reality, perhaps. But entering this restaurant make you feel like...a Kitaro song.
My sister ask me to get this from the Sushi belt. It was a seaweed or something. I am not sure. Does not look tasty but I can finish this all by myself. What in earth did they put inside this unattractive looking green vegie? It was nice.
So this is what I ordered. A garlic rice which is heavenly. The garlic rice was a kind of fried rice but with garlic burn to produce garlicy bitter taste. It was addictive. Accompany by a thinly sliced beef stir fry with soy sauce if I am not mistaken. A bowl of Miso Soup and a few pieces of Tuna sashimi and a piece of salmon Sashimi. I tasted the best Tuna sashimi in my life that day. The tuna just melted in my mouth without chewing it. That's quality! The salmon does the same to.
What my sister and my wife ordered was this one. The same garlic rice, with salmon fillet, deep fried and pour with some thin and sweet soy sauce. It was nice. But for me, the salmon a bit overcooked. I love my salmon to cook just perfectly or raw compare to overcooked one. It still taste nice. For those who hate raw food and prefer everything to be cooked until death, maybe they will say this dish is heavenly. For me, it was ok. My salmon Sashimi was better.
Here is the picture of my father, my daughter and my wife in front of the entrance to that restaurant. For those who can read Japanese maybe you all can translate that restaurant name. I just remember it by the sound of Senkawa something.
There are still Japanese restaurant that I have never taste in Kota Kinabalu but most of them are serving pork so I should pass on that.
This place so far would be my recommendation for those who want to experience the taste of Japanese Umami.