Monday 12 January 2015

A Glimpse Into the World of Japanese Cuisine

I have not always been a fan of Japanese cuisine. For the longest time I associated it with raw fish, and the idea of eating raw fish completely freaked me out. But while studying for my masters a few years ago, a friend pushed me to try it, more like dared me, and well, in a 'challenge accepted' kind of moment, I did. Boy was a I surprised at how much I liked it! Although I did draw the line at maki rolls at that point:) It's been a few years since then though, and I have slowly become more and more adventurous when it comes to food on the whole, and Japanese food in particular (I thank MasterChef for this). The one thing that has always appealed to me though, is how beautiful it looks. It's like art on a plate, and I'm always amazed by the care and skill involved in creating these mini works of art.

A while back, I got an opportunity to visit Kitchens of Asia (KOA), a newly opened restaurant in DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon. It's the baby of restauranteur Amit Arora, and over the course of the evening I chatted with Amit about his journey from IIM Bangalore and the world of management, to the food industry. For someone like myself, who is only just starting to discover Japanese cuisine, it was a treat to hear Amit explain cooking concepts like Sashimi, Robata (a technique of grilling), Teppanyaki (basically cooking on an iron griddle or plate) and Tempura (a kind of deep frying) with such absolute passion.  

Although I'm no expert on this sort of cuisine, I really enjoyed most of the things I tried at KOA, from the maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi to the grilled meats and fish. The seafood used in the sushi and sashimi was fresh and the gari (a kind of sweet, pickled ginger), wasabi paste and grated daikon served with it was really good.  I look forward to visiting many more times and discovering more. I found the flavours subtle but incredible. But this post isn't about a review of the food at KOA, although I loved it :) KOA has an open kitchen concept and you can see the chefs at work, grilling and preparing the different kinds of sushi such as nigiri, maki rolls and sashimi. It's a photographer's delight (not that I consider myself one), but I did have my camera handy all evening and was delighted at the chance of practising my camera skills and taking some pictures of the 'cooking' that was happening. So often when we review, we just talk about the food and how it tasted, missing the story behind its preparation- the effort, technique and skill involved. Here are a few pictures I managed to click... hope you like. 

If you would like to read my in-depth review of KOA on Zomato, please click here.

The process of Robata ...

Some beautiful tasting robata chicken

Perfectly grilled fish

The making of a maki roll...

These are western-style sushi rolls called Uramaki 
(inside-out roll) 

Prawn tempura filling

Tuna filling

The sashimi platter

[All images clicked by Shalini Pereira- Please do not use without prior written permission]

I attended this review on an invite 


  1. I shared your apprehensions about the cuisine, sushi still remains a challenge of sorts but I really enjoyed their tendon sets.

  2. We just love Sushi, not fish one though as I am a vegetarian. To our surprise, they have tons of vegetarian ones ;) Avocado, cucumber, yam, and the list goes on...My teenager darling should be given the credit who literally forced us just like your friend for the first try and now Japanese is one of our favourite family cuisine. Lovely shots of the process.


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