Cover Chef Ronii Lee of Shiki Omakase, Chef Jeff Okada Ramsey of Japas, Chef Haruka Hokune of Sushi Azabu, Chef Makoto Saito Sam of Sushi Hibiki and Chef Eddie Ng of Ed.ju Omakase (Photos: Lestony Lee)

What went down at the highly anticipated bi-annual dining experience at APW Bangsar

We are enraptured by the vibrant orange of the delicately cut ginzake (Japanese premium salmon), the first dish at the 3rd Sushi Summit on May 22, 2022 at APW Bangsar. 

“Don’t compare the differences between the sushi—just enjoy them,” says Chef Makoto Saito Sam of Sushi Hibiki, one of the five chefs featured at this bi-annual event. “Each style is different, and different is good. You can see the variety of sushi this way."

In methodical fashion, he places the ginzake on a neat oblong of freshly made sushi rice, his serious expression brightens up with a smile as he presents the inviting morsel. 

See also: Sushi Summit In APW 2020: Not Even A Trip To Japan Could Have Matched This Experience

The Sushi Summit was founded by Saito and APW founder Ee Soon Wei to showcase the beautiful craft of sushi in an intimate setting. Like speed dating, you get to know each chef up close and personal as they rotate from one table to the next. Apart from Saito, the featured chefs in this edition include Eddie Ng of Ed.ju Omakase, Haruka Hokune of Sushi Azabu, Jeff Ramsey of Sushi Babe at Japas, Ronii Lee of Shiki Omakase and Jack Weldie of Chipta 11A.

Makoto Saito Sam

The first sushi chef to show off his chops is Saito, who specialises in edomae, a centuries-old Japanese method of preparing sushi. “A classic style of aged sushi that you rarely see even in Japan,” he explains. 

Prior to the invention of refrigerators or ice boxes, fresh seafood had to be marinated with salt and vinegar, or soaked in soy sauce, lengthen their shelf life. Although initially a method of preservation, it inevitably transforms the texture and flavour profile of edomae sushi, from the melt-in-your-mouth ginzake to the buttery soft feel of nii-yariika (spared squid) to the refreshing palate cleanser of umezisho-maki (plum and oba leaves roll). 

Star Sushi: It’s the sweet simplicity of the uni, which Saito dubs "level one uni" that had us begging for seconds. The uni's rich, buttery texture and fresh, briny flavour spoiled us for good.

See also: Tatler Dining Guide 2022: The Best Japanese Restaurants in Malaysia

Eddie Ng

“My style is very strong one—it's punchy,” Ng teases. With ease, he presents a crystalline aoriika (big reef squid) paired with one of Ed.ju’s signatures, red vinegar rice. A bright burst of tangy umami on the tongue, the rice is a brilliant contrast to the squid’s softer flavour profile, two notes that continue throughout Ng's energetic performance.

Ed.ju is known for serving aged fish, each sushi has a unique mouthfeel: the akaebi (Argentinian red prawns), topped with shaved caviar and paired with flavoured rice, was satisfyingly bouncy; the kampachi, aged 10 days, is a beautifully translucent fish that has a particularly robust flavour, made more apparent when paired with the black vinegar rice.
 
Star Sushi: The chutoro (a medium fatty tuna aged for six days) is a standout because of how tender it is. The sweet sour note of Chinese black vinegar sushi rice brings out the chutoro's mild sweetness.

Haruka Hokune

The head chef of Sushi Azabu in Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur is a bubbly woman who lets loose a hearty laugh as she teases Ng when it was time for them to trade places. “How is everyone? Ready for more sushi?” she asks. Much like her personality, her sushi was hearty and generous in portion.

The akamatsu (rosy sea bass) is one of the most prized (and the most expensive) white fish in Japan—and rightly so. Gleaming pink and smoked ever-so-slightly on the top to give it that extra punch, the fish was pleasantly soft on the tongue and full of flavour.

Hokune’s knack for kaiseki (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that primarily focuses on seasonal ingredients and utilises a variety of techniques) shines in the way she presents her sushi with much care and attention.

Star Sushi: The kaki, which means oyster in Japanese, was an absolute showstopper, topped with the citrusy kick of yuzu pepper that amplified the freshness of this gigantic oyster.

Jeff Okada Ramsey

At the helm of Japas, a Spanish-Japanese izakaya located in Bukit Damansara, is Ramsey, known for his modernist, experimental style. This is evident in the use of green papaya, instead of Japanese gourd, in his kanpyo maki, as well as the utilisation of an entire angel shrimp for his tenshi ebi zukushi. 

Both at once methodical and out-of-the-box, the man is a master at combining tradition and innovation in Japanese cuisine. Another great example is the otoro (fatty tuna), aged 14 days and hailing from Kochi of Shikoku Island, Japan, which is topped with a dash of Japanese mustard to give the tender fish a bright tang.

Star Sushi: The ikura (salmon roe) on uni butter shari (sushi rice) was flavourful and comforting, thanks to every single grain of rice being coated in a golden uni-kombu-butter and sake mirin mix, further complemented by the fresh pop of ikura and the light sprinkling of yuzu zest.

Ronii Lee

For Shiki Omakase’s Lee, the complementary flavour profiles of sweet and sour stand out in his sushi. Think pairing orange zest on marinated akami (bluefin tuna); tosazu jelly (with is a jelly dressing of sweetened soy sauce infused with bonito flakes usually for summery dishes) with mejina (large-scale blackfish); soft chewy ishidai (parrot fish) with a minty miso sauce; and smoky sweet aji (horse mackerel) topped with an egg yolk vinegar sauce that, interestingly enough, has a limey tang to it.

“At Shiki Omakase, we wanted to give a more refreshing concept,” Lee says. “For our akami, because the fish is already marinated in soy, we offset that saltiness with a touch of sweetness by using orange zest, which also makes it more aromatic.”

Star Sushi: The aji was a superb closer to our sushi extravaganza. Smoky and sweet, the mackerel was delightfully chewy at first, and dissolved immediately after, leaving a surprising burst of wasabi and a hint of lime on the palate.

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