Thursday, October 11, 2007
As soon as my aunt and uncle picked me up from the Airport Express in Hong Kong, they asked me what I was craving for. My immediate answer was sushi.
There are a few Japanese restaurants in Beijing, but I don't quite trust their standards in handling raw fish. So to err on the side of caution, I waited until going to Hong Kong to fill up on sushi and sashimi.
And they took me to a very popular place in the International Finance Centre, or IFC . If you get there too late, you have to wait for a while. It's best to go just before the lunch and dinner rush.
It's called sen-ryo and it's actually a kind of bar serving conveyor-belt sushi. On one side are chairs facing the conveyor belt like a sushi bar, and on the other side are small booths. Ideally it's best to sit in a booth so that you can have private conversations, otherwise everyone can eavesdrop on what you're saying.
At every booth and at the bar, there are black round containers that have matcha, or green tea powder. Put a small scoop in your cup and then add water from a hot water dispenser right in front of you. There's a wooden box filled with thin slices of ginger, as well as bottles of soy and a small ceramic pot with fresh wasabi in it.
Then the dining begins by choosing small plates off the conveyor belt. They range from tuna maki rolls, to California ones, sushi with either raw or cooked prawns, unagi, octopus, and eel. And of course there's sashimi, like salmon and tuna. You can even get cooked king crab legs. There's even sardine sushi topped with some spring onion to cut the smell, and small chunks of fish liver and rice wrapped with seaweed.
They are served on small plates with two pieces each, six for maki rolls. So if you're still hankering for more of what you just ate, there's more coming down the line again.
But that's not all. There's other things you can order on the menu too, including a small variety of miso-based soups, including salmon and clam, both very delicious, particularly the salmon one which was sweet in flavour.
For dessert there's green tea, red bean and black sesame ice creams, but both times I went there I didn't have enough room for it.
The bill is calculated by the number of plates stacked up at your table and the colours, from green and gold, silver and pink. On the whole it's quite reasonably priced considering most of the dining experience is do-it-yourself.
While it's definitely worth the wait, it's best to go early so your tummy isn't growling for too long.
Two International Finance Centre