I just came back from Japan and enjoyed an amazing time in The Land of the Rising Sun, feasting on many delicious treats and sampling many new delicacies over the course of 10 days.

Upon my return, I find myself craving the Nippon tastes that I’ve grown accustomed to - the amusing interplay of flavours across each dish, the way dishes highlight carefully grown and selected ingredients and the passion behind the foods and drinks that I’ve tasted.

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I am clearly suffering from food withdrawal symptoms. Japan is an extremely popular holiday destination for many Malaysians and I know I’m not the only one who returns missing the flavours of the food found there.

For those missing such flavours or for those wishing to immerse themselves in culinary scenes close to Japan, this week we bring you 5 places to cure your longing for Japanese aromas and tastes.

Marutama Ra-men

Marutama.jpg (original size)Photo: Courtesy of Marutama Ra-men Malaysia

No trip to Japan would be complete without indulging in a bowl of ramen. Where most common ramen broth choices are either shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), tonkotsu (pork bone) or misoMarutama Ra-men switches up this typical selection with chicken. This results in a slurp-worthy bowl of noodles, where the broth is rich in flavour (no MSG is used) and the springy noodles work wonders to compliment the slices of chasyu (Japanese char siew), seaweed and spring onion. Checkout their Facebook page here to start planning how to get your bowl.

Tea Press - The Japanese Tea Roasters - 

Tea-Press-2.jpg (original size)Photo: Courtesy of Tea Press Malaysia

Green tea is another common sight in Japan, drinking a hot cup can cleanse the body, the palate and soothe the mind. Japanese purveyor of fine green tea and sweets Tea Press have two outlets here in Malaysia – one in Damansara Uptown and one in Da Men Mall. The next time you find yourself craving for that taste of Japan, head over to Tea Press with a good book or friend in tow to relive that zen feel when you need to escape the noise of city life.

Ginza Sushimasa

Sushi-Ginzamasa.jpg (original size)Photo: Steven Sum/Malaysia Tatler

Sushi is one of the pinnacles of Japanese cuisine. For many Japanese youths, dining in Ginza (the most expensive district in Tokyo) is a dream come true and as such many sushi restaurants have set up shop in the area. Ginza Sushimasa in Le Meridien KL is one such restaurant, offering a superb omakase experience with fresh fish air-flown from Japan. If you are craving for a slice of Japanese fine dining, this will definitely hit home. The restaurant's Facebook page can be found here.


Gindaco.jpg (original size)Photo: Courtesy of Gindaco Malaysia

Street snacks in Japan are just as tasty. Takoyaki, fried doughy balls with a sliver of octopus in the centre, is a signature Japanese snack and having a few can evoke sensations of wandering the metropolitan streets of Tokyo or Osaka. Gindaco, famed in Japan for their takoyaki, opened in Malaysia last year. Click here to find out where to get your hands on this yummy snack.

Washu-seki, Isetan The Japan Store KL

Sake-2.jpg (original size)Photo: Tien Chew/Malaysia Tatler

Sake and shochu are two different yet slighlty similar takes on rice wine in Japan. Many Japanese folks enjoy drinking, and clinking sake glasses with your mates is a common occurence in many bars across the Nippon. For that authentic Japanese drinking experience, head down to Washu-seki in The Market section of Isetan The Japan Store in Lot 10 for a genuine sake tasting experience. Click here for more info.

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Tags: Japan, Japanese Food, Isetan The Japan Store, Gindaco, Takoyaki, Sushi, Sushi Ginzamasa, Japanese Tea, Tea Press, Ramen, Marutama Ramen, Sake, Shochu