I love dim sum. My wife loves dim sum. Really, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love various meats, seafoods, or veggies wrapped into dumpling form and then steamed, baked or fried. With that in mind, and after my epic weekend devouring gourmet dim sum in Hong Kong last year, I thought it was time to see what dim sum Tokyo had to offer.
Sense at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo Hotel offers gourmet Chinese courses and dishes at night, but it’s the weekend-only, all-you-can-eat dim sum course that piqued my interest. Choosing between two courses (8,054 yen or 10,739 yen for the more premium offering), you get an appetizer, a rice/noodle choice, a dessert option, and oh yes, an unlimited selection of delicious dumplings of love made to order. Bring your appetite- this could be Tokyo’s most filling Michelin-starred lunch.
The restaurant is situated on the 37th floor and offers an amazing view of Tokyo while you eat yourself silly. The service is attentive and accommodating. Additionally, it’s rather easy to get a reservation at Sense through their website. Indeed, a lunch at Sense is a great way to pass away an afternoon taking in a beautiful view, consuming dumplings to your heart’s content, and perhaps catching a nice little buzz with their expensive but delicious drink menu (pairings available at 7,000 yen for 3 wines or 10,000 yen for 5 wines. There’s more than meets the eye, though, as the wines are themselves paired with full servings of Chinese Huanjiu wine!).
Let’s eat Sense!
Quite the spectacular view.
Appetizer – jellyfish with beef sinew, roasted peking duck, various pickled vegetables.
Shanghai crab xiao long po dumpling.
Double-boiled soup dumpling with king crab and Iwate pork, served with blood swallow’s nest
Three premium dim sum- truffle and eggwhite, lobster and hokkaido scallop flavored with homemade XO sauce, abalone topped siu mai with Iwate pork.
Deep-fried taro puff dumpling
Pan-fried daikon radish cake
Shrimp dumplings and scallop dumplings
Steamed sparerib with black beans
Steamed sparerib with black beans after unwrapping. Yum.
Spring rolls with three kinds of seafood.
Steamed chicken feet with black beans.
Truffle and mushroom dumpling & Chinese spinach with Okinawa star grouper dumpling.
Fried shrimp wonton with sweet chili sauce
Barbecue mochibuta pork bun
Pork xiao long po
Beef siu mai and another truffle dumpling.
My noodle soup with shrimp wontons
Midori’s steamed glutinou rice with chicken and dried scallop
Glutinou rice after unwrapping.
One last dumpling- steamed dumpling with king crab and shrimp.
My dessert- mango pudding
Midori’s dessert- almond pudding
My wife and I went to Bali to spend our Christmas and New Year holiday in the hot weather by the beach. After some research, I was pleased to find that Bali squeezed one of its restaurants, Locavore, into Asia’s 50 Best at #49.
Locavore is in Ubud, a part of Bali that is actually located away from the beach at a much higher altitude enveloped in lush jungle and picturesque mountains. The restaurant takes advantage of its surrounding by featuring all sorts of ingredients this island has to offer, thus the “local” part in its name. To be honest, there are so many different components used in each dish, including Indonesian ingredients I have never heard of, that there is no way I can remember them all. Still, I have included a slideshow of every dish and cocktail included in the course. Hopefully the beautiful pictures below speak for themselves, much louder than my lackluster descriptions.
There are 2 menus- locavore (featuring meats and other proteins) and herbivore (vegetarian). You can choose between 5 or 7 courses, and a cocktail pairing is offered, as well. We chose the full locavore course with pairing, and for about $125 a head, were treated to five appetizers, six main courses, one dessert, several more petit fours, and six sampler-size cocktails to accompany each main course. For Bali, it’s expensive. Were it located in any other major city, however, it would be a real bargain.
Locavore is set in the dead-center of Ubud amongst the heavy foot-traffic of backpackers, hippies, and drunk Australians. Thus, while the dining is fine and expertly crafted, one can expect a fairly boisterous environment and a lackadaisical dress code (“no beer logo tank-tops”).
If you’re in the area, it’s a must-visit.
Let’s eat Locavore!
A radish topped with chili pepper.
Local spinach fried.
A seaweed pillow that pops in your mouth with a turmeric essence.
Can’t remember what this is, but it had egg in it and it was good.
Corn on a pumpkin seed puree.
Tomato sorbet with a hot broth, the sorbet is actually spicy.
The last amuse bouche was a cauliflower puree.
Bread is a roti made from sweet potato and coconut, served with a peanut oil, a sweet peanut mix, and a kind of salsa sambal.
“The Crab” – Crab with creme cantaloupe melon, dark sour dough (the black colored powder), cured kampung egg yolk (the yellow powder), jasmine flowers
“The Squid” – squid cooked in homemade brem (a Balinese rice wine), lobak, cold pressed peanut oil, shallots, green peas, kemangi, chilies
“Steak Tartar” – raw beef, tong cai, liquid pickled genjer, mushroom, fermented garlic, purslane- one of my favorite dishes of the night.
“Into the Sawah” – Hi-grade rice, snails & garlic, 64 degree duck egg (yolk), catfish abon, fern tips, wild flowers- another highlight of the meal. Very rich with the egg yolk.
“Crayfish” – Simply blanched & smoked, pineapple, kerang darah, kangkung, batak sauce
“Lamb” served two ways as detailed below.
Lamb shoulder curried.
Lamb with nasi bakar (rice wrapped in a banana leaf).
Pre-dessert was a foam covering a delicious fruit salad.
“Bubur Sum Sum” Coconut & rice flour porridge, gula bali, lemongrass, mango, pandan leaves.
The parade of petit fours.
A passionfruit meringue served in the duck egg shell.
A local Balinese fruit served with tea, similar to a lychee.
Pickled bangkuang, mint leaves, dry sake, angostura bitter, St. Remy brandy, homemade jasmine soda
Kemangi, cucumber, Jose Cuervo Silver, Tanqueray gin, chili-infused sea salt
Fermented cabbage juice, Pimm’s No. 1, Campari, Plantation Rum, araomatic mushroom liquid.
Cemcem leaves, young coconut, lemo bali, lemongrass, tamarind syrup, light rum
Turmeric, wild honey, kecombrang, tanqueray gin, spice rum
Bullet Bourbon, red port, pineapple, bell pepper, grated long pepper
Pina colada a la Joni
Juice to finish.