Photos by Mark.
Sushi is such commercialized food these days. In most of the bigger cities, there is always a sushi corner somewhere. But they are nowhere near what i had in Japan. Could not even compare with the cheapest of the kaiten sushi (回転寿司) there, guess the freshness and quality of the ingredients makes the biggest difference here ?? So it really piqued my interest when Andrew told me that there is this higher end sushi omakase (お任せ) restaurant that brings in produce from various parts of Japan 4 times a week.
Not only this, Meii Sushi always has recommendation for customers on what are the seasonal produce current in Japan. Some told me that they sampled 6 different kinds of Uni from all over Japan in one sitting at Meii.
Tucked into a little corner in Tanjong Pagar, they only accept customers if you call up to reserve a seat, no walk-ins and serves only a few groups of people at a time, not more. I was told that Chef Hong does not like people to take photographs of him and his food. Does not like publicity, does not serve you if he does not like you, not open on Sundays and never ever order garlic fried rice in his Sushi restaurant, he will politely invite you to leave.
Curious ?? I made the trip down the very next day. That was last Sept………and i am a repeat customer if time and money allows it
All pictures taken by Mark on his 5DIII and sometimes iPhone. He was in a US Ops-like stealth mode, alternating between the iPhone and the 5DIII to distract Chef Hong. Not really,…..but strangely, Chef Hong did not object.
Sashimi, not the usual 3-5mm that we are used to but like 1.5-2cm thick. Its ridiculous ! So fresh, we gobbled everything up in 5 mins, we did not even say a word to each other but was full of silly smiles, and nods of approval after we finished. How to describe this ? Erm……its like falling in love for the first time………*shivers
Appetizer. Looks like a mess but the soft boiled creamy egg yolks compliment the Uni (ウニ) very well !
I try not to post a full frontal shot of the man, lest all his culinary knives come flying at me. He doesn’t like to be photographed remember ? Thats how close we were to him when he was preparing the sushi for us, no intimidating sushi display case, no barriers. Chef Hong was chatty, cracked many jokes that makes us laugh……… very different from what we heard about him….hmmm
These guys are no bigger than the thumb. I last saw them moving about in a huge bowl next to my seat. Sawa-Kani
Engawa (えんがわ). According to Leslie, the hirame fish (or sole fish) has only 4 parts of this which is close to the fin. So its very highly prized.
Ikura (イクラ). This one was really fun. Chef Hong seasoned it with sake, lots of it. It was like poping sake balls in the mouth. Bars should really consider to serve this as a drink on the list, very edgy.
We got playful after awhile and decided to challenge him to make something non-conventional. He does not like this as he pride himself as a traditional sushi chef. But what the heck, make us some! The end result is something really wonderful. With his experience, he manages to give us combinations that matches each so well, Aburi salmon belly sushi topped with Uni(again).
Things got worse……we were so high that we challenged Chef Hong to make us a Hamburger Sushi. And we were high without a single drop of alcohol. Ok,ok, its not traditional sushi but Chef Hong could not say no when his creativity was challenged, reluctant as he was. Even with this, the combination taste so good, how did he manage it ? I don’t know, I will never look at sushi the same way again.
We got a small history on the knives that he uses……..
He got a little enthusiastic……we were overwhelmed !!!….
We got to know Chef Hong and his food a little. His only aim was to bring out the best experience of a traditional sushi bar for his customers. Which is why he is brings in seasonal produce, and try to keep his restaurant small so that he can spend time to chat and explain to us what we are eating. No photography because the flashes and clickings will disturb other customers in the restaurant.
How did we get away with it ? Again, we do not know, everything was on a blurry high when it ended.
……but I do know that I will leave my sushi in your hands Chef Hong. Thank you.
Price : $$$$/$$$$$