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Mizutani or Yoshitake?

Thanks guys for your replies! I've been to Sawada before and was blown away... I consider it the best meal of my life. While Sushi Shin sounds excellent (I may book there after all), I'd really like to try another place with a similar, traditional style for comparison, as I've come to crave that style. Ninisix (and others), I wish I had dined at Araki before he left, but now that he's gone, what would be your recommendation? I don't need showmanship so long as the sushi is truly excellent.

Nov 10, 2014
chinkyeeboy in Japan

Mizutani or Yoshitake?

Hi all,

I've seen a lot of posts on high-end sushi here, but wanted to compare these two in particular. Anybody been to both? I'll be visiting in December and already have reservations for Sawada, but would like to try one more top sushi spot. From what I've read, Mizutani has both superlative and mediocre reviews, while Yoshitake is known more for his appetizers. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

Nov 08, 2014
chinkyeeboy in Japan

Raw Oysters in HK?

Craving oysters-- any great spots in Hong Kong?

Sushi Sawada review

Thanks for commenting, and I suppose you're right. I don't often post reviews on Chowhound (I *think* this was actually my first review) and this was actually written for my personal blog, so I didn't mean to totally break down the meal, but rather to share how I responded to it.

You're also right that I haven't visited other sushi-yas on the level of Mizutani, Jiro, etc. I was referring mainly to Kyubei, which although admittedly not on the level of those just mentioned, is generally highly regarded, even in Japan. As for Dai, I didn't mean to *compare* so much, as I understand it's not a fair comparison... but it was the anecdote that I had-- the point mainly being that after Sawada, my view on Dai changed. I believe this is a common experience. You and others on this board may have eaten at Jiro, Mizutani, Saito, etc. enough to compare them to each other, but I and many others haven't had that luxury-- I was going by examples that more readers would understand (i.e. my friends mostly asked, "How did it compare to Dai?").

Aug 19, 2013
chinkyeeboy in Japan

Sushi Sawada review

I’ve wanted to write about Sawada since my meal there in December 2012, but couldn’t find the words. No other meal has left me so speechless. How does one describe the sublime? What can be said? Even now, months later, I haven’t found a way to communicate just how different Sawada was, on every level, from all my previous experiences with sushi, fish, rice, flavor, texture, and the heart of what food is.

Still, I’d like to try and share what I can.

For the past few years, whenever I read an article on “Best Sushi In Japan,” or watched a film like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I would try to imagine what it would be like to eat sushi at the highest level. I would see close-up shots and think, “Holy eyeballs, that rice looks incredible! And that fish . . . look how it glistens!” I could almost taste it. To begin with, I was no stranger to the form– I had dined at some near-legendary sushi-ya’s in Tokyo. And after reading so much, and seeing– even studying– so many pictures of delectable-looking fish draped over rice, I thought that I could somewhat imagine what it would be like.

Yet, the reality was so much more than simply an incarnation of my imagination. It transcended and redefined all kinds of things I thought I knew about food– things like freshness and complexity. Is it fresh if it’s aged? Because it tasted “fresher” than any fish I’d ever known. How can two ingredients, simply cooked or not at all, contain such depth? Sawada was the polar opposite of uber-avante-garde Alinea, where I experienced the other best-meal-of-my-life (if such a thing can be said). It was utterly refined rusticity and simplicity; perhaps this is why it amounted to something even greater. Sushi Dai was good, and Kyubei even better, but Sawada was simply on another plane of existence, better by an order of magnitude; there was simply no comparison; it was not the same food whatsoever. I immediately felt– nay, realized– that all the others had been playing with scraps, cheap imitations (throw fish on rice and voila! Sushi!), but Sawada was the real thing, the true craft of sushi. It was tasting sushi for the first time. Both the fish and the rice at Sawada were consistently of a much higher quality than I had ever tasted, in any kind of restaurant, anywhere in the world. But I expected this. What I didn’t expect was that at Sawada, one comes to understand what it means that sushi is not only about perfect fish and perfect rice, but rather the marriage between the two, a husband and wife that become more than the sum of their parts. I finally felt the heart of sushi.

Much could be written on the physical qualities of the sushi, but perhaps an anecdote would be more telling: The morning after my meal at Sawada, I took a friend to the famed Sushi Dai, and I had to force myself to swallow their sushi. Suddenly, Sushi Dai tasted like cheap, days-old box sushi from a Chicago supermarket. Now I know how crazy that sounds, and I know what you’re probably thinking, but it had nothing to do with snobbery or attitude. It was simply that after Sawada, Sushi Dai’s fish seemed to stink from “improper” handling/seasoning, and the rice seemed sloppy. But this was because the fish actually *did* stink, and the rice *was* a mess, and there was no marriage between the two– I just didn’t realize it before.

It’s not just that Sawada is better than everywhere else I’ve been. It’s that for the first time, I tasted sushi that was being made in a way that seemed so natural– like, why doesn’t everybody do this? So much so that all the other sushi just didn’t even make sense anymore. I mean, why would you take a piece of raw fish and just slap it on rice? Sawada’s extensive prep and attention to detail toward each ingredient made all the difference, so the usual way seems incomplete, like a burger without buns or an unsalted steak– a piece of meat, but the flavor isn’t there.

Which brings me to the question of Perfection. In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the legendary sushi chef is asked whether he believed that perfection could be achieved. He answers, “No, I don’t think it’s possible.”

Yet in a way, I think it is possible. If food were static, a complete universe by itself, then it would not be possible. Yet I keep coming back to what I mentioned in my first post: that food is not simply “all by itself.” Rather, it is dynamic and interactive– with our taste buds, memories, friends, atmosphere, mood, etc. So I answer for myself:

If at a meal, one is the happiest that he has ever been, and is filled with joy, laughter, and thankfulness; if he has tasted none better and can imagine no more; if it compels him to shake his head in disbelief that he could be so blessed; if it brings tears to his eyes and wonder to his heart– This is perfection.

Such was my experience at Sawada.

*Full review here:

Aug 18, 2013
chinkyeeboy in Japan

Hong Kong Ramen – let’s resuscitate this old topic

I've tried Hide-Chan, Ippudo, Santouka, and Mist. Out of those, I'd say Hide-Chan has the richest broth and best overall bowl, though the egg was disappointing. Santouka is also quite good overall. When I was in Tokyo, I loved Ippudo, but found that the Hong Kong Ippudo does not taste the same-- compared to Tokyo's, the broth was bland and the egg flavorless. Mist was just ok.

Still waiting for some great ramen in HK!

Best Beef Noodle Soup in Taipei?

I'll be staying at Lake Hotel: No. 2, Lane 77, Bitan Rd, Sindian City, Taipei R.O.C

Best Beef Noodle Soup in Taipei?

Hi there!

I'll be flying out to Taipei tomorrow for 3 days, and am looking for great Beef Noodle Soup. Looking for chewy noodles and rich, flavorful broth. Any recommendations?

Installing a magnetic knife bar without drilling?

Well, looks like I found solution-- just picked up a Kai "Stonehenge" redwood knife block ( here locally in Hong Kong. Very expensive-- but so gorgeous. Thanks for the advice all.

Sep 18, 2011
chinkyeeboy in Cookware

Installing a magnetic knife bar without drilling?

Haha yeah I've been looking at the Messirmeister blocks, but they're all "out of stock" and who knows when they'll be back in?

Sep 13, 2011
chinkyeeboy in Cookware

Installing a magnetic knife bar without drilling?

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll have to drop by IKEA and give this a try-- won't know till then. Magnet-mounting on the fridge would be pretty ideal.

Sep 13, 2011
chinkyeeboy in Cookware

Installing a magnetic knife bar without drilling?

I have a magnetic knife bar that I had used in my previous apartment. Now I've moved but there isn't anywhere in my new kitchen that I could drill/screw into.

Any ideas on how to mount it without drilling? I'd attach it to tile or metal. Will any superglue be strong enough?

Sep 12, 2011
chinkyeeboy in Cookware

Restaurant for sweetbreads

I had the sweetbreads at the Publican a couple weeks ago. Before I go on, let me say that I LOVE sweetbreads and always order them when they are on the menu, and that I loved Blackbird's sweetbreads.

Anyway, at the Publican, we were served a couple GIGANTIC pieces of sweetbreads-- each was the size of my fist. I think the restaurant was trying to be generous, as they had forgotten to input that order, but because the sweetbreads were so large, the insides failed to cook through. So the outside was beautifully seared, but when you cut into it, the inside was just white milky gelatinous jigly goop, still somewhat cold and leaking milky fluid. It was disgusting!

That said, the Publican ROCKS and everything else I had there-- the pork belly, cured meats, much more-- was amazing. The sweetbreads thing was probably just a rare mistake.

Apr 23, 2009
chinkyeeboy in Chicago Area

Cilantro - Love it or Hate it?

hi there,

there's a great article titled, "Getting to the Root of the Great Cilantro Divide," that indicates that perhaps the reason many people don't like cilantro is because they are "non-tasters," as opposed to "super-tasters." Check it out:

As for me, can't get enough!

Mar 15, 2009
chinkyeeboy in General Topics