The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Fine Japanese food @ Sakagura Japanese Restaurant, Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia)

Last month we were in East Malaysia for a weekend trip to attend a cousin's wedding. That weekend went by in the blink of an eye, and then we were back in Hong Kong. The kids got a chance to spend time with their grandparents and great-grandmother, as well as all their aunties and uncles and cousins, yet I'm already wondering when the kids will have such opportunity again to spend time with their extended relatives. During that weekend, my siblings and I (minus two sisters and their families who couldn't make it to the wedding) also took the chance to celebrate our mum's birthday. I think it was already a treat for my mum to see three of her five children (and respective grandkids) who all live in different cities, and to make it more special, we took her out to eat her favourite cuisine: Japanese! My brother's friend who is resident of Kota Kinabalu recommended Sakagura in the Oceanus Waterfront Mall, which is conveniently located opposite the apartment we were staying at. That friend said that the restaurant is very popular, so reservations were highly recommended, and she helped us make the booking. Sakagura was small, but the atmosphere was jovial and lively. There was a central kitchen space where the sushi chef worked, and those seating around the bar can watch him make sushi and cut sashimi. The main dining room also contained booths for small groups, and there were at least two rooms partitioned off for larger groups like ours. The menu was quite extensive, offering a wide range of Japanese dishes from sushi to teppanyaki to sukiyaki to donburi (rice bowl) dishes. Restaurants that serve such a wide range of food is unusual in Japan itself, where food establishments are highly specialised - sushi-ya serving only sushi and sashimi, udon-ya offering only udon dishes, and so on. The Japanese people pride themselves in providing only the best quality, hence the highly specialised establishments. I am happy to report that Sakagura's quality was excellent, paired with great service by the friendly staff. Sakagura's pricing is considered expensive by local standards, but it is clearly reflected by the restaurant's high standards. Everyone was happy with the food!

The lively atmosphere of the main dining area:

We had this space all to ourselves:

Kids shared a big bowl of Oyakodon:

Hubby got the Unaju, a type of unadon featuring freshwater eel. The set included miso soup, salad, chawanmushi, some pickles and a teapot full of dashi to add to the rice bowl for a bit of variation in eating the dish:

I ordered the Salmon Don - fresh salmon sashimi with a smattering of ikura (salmon roe) over sushi rice was just what I wanted:

The birthday girl got the Premium Sushi Set. We could tell she wanted that, but she said she would get one of the cheaper dishes. My sister and I had to convince her to just get it! She loved it:

My younger sister ordered the Sukiyaki Set, a hotpot dish with thin slices of fatty beef. She got her very own cook top with a hotpot full of ingredients...

... as well as rice, miso soup, raw egg, salad, a braised fish dish and grated yam:

Hubby was still hungry after eating his Unaju, so he ordered this appetiser to share - a Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) and Kani (crab flesh). Good choice, the sweet omelette complemented the sweet juicy crab meat:

Hubby also ordered the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake). The Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is slightly different to the more prevalent Osaka-style, in that there are noodles too:

Our group ordered three Green Tea Shaved Ice Desserts - so refreshing, with a heap of sweet anko (adzuki beans) and some chewy shiratama dango (rice dumplings):

And my brother got the Mango Shaved Ice Dessert:

I heartily recommend Sakagura for good Japanese food in downtown Kota Kinabalu area!

Sakagura Japanese Restaurant
Shop G-23 & G-25
Ground Floor, Oceanus Waterfront Mall
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen
88000, Kota Kinabalu
Sabah, Malaysia
+60 88-273 604

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