On our final day in Hokkaido, we only had time for one more meal … and had I known about Sushi Zen, I suppose we would’ve just stayed in Sapporo. Instead, we took at 30-minute JR train ride to Otaru (quite a bit of trouble for lunch don’t you think?), which is a sea-side town northwest of Sapporo.
The town was known for its port and at one point, the Otaru Canal (小樽運河), ran through the middle of the town, but now only a portion of it has been preserved.
So, having seen the canal (the only tourist attraction we had time for), we randomly found a sushi restaurant to fill us up, which turned out to be pretty decent. Here’s Masazuhi using Google Map.
The restaurant is on the second floor and has very clean design and decor. The staff team is very accommodating and very well-mannered (as you would usually expect in Japan).
The chefs do their thang after we made our order …
And while we wait for the chefs to prepare our sushi platters, we poured ourselves soy sauce for the sushi … AND for the sashimi.
Masazushi is one of only a few Japanese restaurants I’ve been to that serves both soy sauce for sushi and soy sauce for sashimi.
Japanese soy sauce brands such as Kikkoman develops sauces which ranges from light, sweet and mild to dark, less sweet and rich. As a general rule of thumb (and correct me if I am wrong), sashimi uses the lighter one while sushi would be better paired if it had been dipped into a slightly richer / darker sauce. The logical reason I guess is because sushi has a block of rice, which itself is … bland, I suppose. Its all about the balance! … Yeh .. yeh, I’m right.
“The balance of sweetness and saltiness, as well as a special blend of natural ingredients, pairs well with wasabi (Japanese horseradish paste) and heightens the flavor of sushi and sashimi” … an excerpt from the Kikkoman website.
They were all so good and fresh … but what stood out in particular was the roe on rice. The roe was slightly bigger than most of what I’ve tried before, but much juicier and much more complex (probably a bit sweeter as well).
The marbling on the toro almost looks like marbling on an A5 Kobe!
Here, we were given 2 different cuts of toro sashimi to try. Both equally as good … but subconsciously, it feels like the second cut is better … probably because it was thicker. They should just give me 20 ounce of it to chew on …
We had tako sushi and something else as well, I can’t quite remember (I’m going to have to get back to you) … but its a really fatty fish, and is usually consumed half grilled, as you can see from the photo.
In the end, I almost want to say “this is as fresh as it gets” since we’re sitting in the north-most town in Hokkaido (even though the seafood might’ve still gone through a pretty elaborate supply chain), but I want to save that line for that day when I catch the fish from the sea 🙂
Filed under: Asia, Japan | Tagged: Dark, Food, Guide, Hokkaido, Japan, JR Train, Kikkoman, Light, Masazushi, Otaru, Otaru Canal, Restaurant, Restaurant Review, Review, Roe, Salty, Sapporo, Sashimi, Soy Sauce, Sushi, Sushi Zen, Sweet, Tako, Toro, Travel, Uni, Wasabi, 小尊, 小樽運河, 政壽司 | Leave a comment »