|Corner spot: The restaurant building has three faces and designed in shogun spirit. — VNS Photos Kaza
by Cong Thanh
Having lived in central Da Nang city for four years, Tokyo-resident Kozaburo Yazawa wanted to introduce barbecue (BBQ) made from imported beef at a local seafood restaurant with a Japanese ambience.
Just a 10-minute drive via taxi from the city centre, the Bushido restaurant, can be easily spotted as it faces the streets of 2nd September (2 to 9) and Nguyen Thien Thuat.
The banner displayed at the top of the three-storey restaurant has both Vietnamese and Japanese writing in black and white, reflecting the spirit of the first shogun of Japan from the 1600s.
Visitors can easily recognise the restaurant as the building was designed with an angle of a martial artist facing in the main direction of a vehicle coming from the city centre.
"We have opened the Bushido restaurant for local residents and tourists, who like to eat delicious Japanese style of Yakiniku, Shabu-shabu, Sukiyaki," said restaurant manager Yazawa.
"We also offer sashimi and sushi by using the fresh seafood caught in Da Nang and our main chef comes from a restaurant at a famous hotel in Japan and is responsible for quality control," he added.
|Tasteful: Salted beef tongue and accompaniments.
The 36-year-old has placed Wagyu beef of Japan on the menu so that visitors can get a chance to eat and understand the taste and compare it with America beef and Australian beef.
"We are offering delicious tongue of beef, chicken and pork of Viet Nam at a low price for a lot of people who enjoy eating at the Bushido restaurant," Yazawa said.
Tran Lan Anh, a local resident had told me about her experience with Japanese cuisine and culture at Bushido.
She ordered BBQ salted beef tongue (Tan Shio), considered quite a strange dish in the central city as people occasionally eat only pig's tongue, but not beef's tongue, Anh said.
"It is crunchy and tasty. The tongue was sliced and soaked in a mixture of spices, such as salt, pepper, ginger, sesame and little bit of Sake (Japanese traditional wine) before being cooked in a stove placed underneath the table," Anh said.
"It was a Korean charcoal stove designed with a fan to collect smoke, so I just enjoyed the food with the grilled smell. The food is often eaten with salt and lime," she said.
"A dish for two cost only VND88,000 and we tasted more dishes at the restaurant."
|Simply bovine: Wagyu Shabu (Wagyu beef in hot-pot) is a special dish at the Bushido restaurant.
Squid sourced from the morning catch in the sea near Da Nang is used for making squid sashimi (IKa sashimi).
"They (Vietnamese customers) always think that sashimi and sushi are the key foods served at Japanese restaurants. But we also offer local and fresh seafood cooked in Japanese style," Yazawa said.
Anh said she also ordered the squid sashimi for two after the beef's tongue.
"Local residents rarely taste raw squid as they prefer the grouper sashimi with green mustard and soya sauce. I was told that only fishermen eat small squid that has just been caught," she said.
"This was also the first time that I tasted raw squid. The chef set up the dish very beautifully with thin white slices. The Japanese soya sauce and mustard (Wasabi) was not so hot as other Wasabi," she said.
"It was yummy. Very sweet and soft. The dish was a combination of fresh squid, seaweed, soya and ginger. The Japanese do not use much chilly as it hurts the stomach," the gourmand pointed out.
Visitors at Bushido can also order Sushi Moriawase on the suggestion of the chef's selection of whatever is fresh on that day.
Various fresh seafood is available for gourmands selecting fish sushi to eat, such as salmon and tuna.
Ho Thi Hanh, a staffer at Bushido suggested we sit in the balcony on the third floor as it is an ideal place for dinner, where gastronomes can enjoy a breath of fresh air from the ocean while taking in the colourful sights of the bridges dotting the Han River.
"Only friends of restaurant owners are invited to the place, but it is only fit for dinner. A corner with a table for six to eight visitors is set in the balcony," Hanh said.
"It's the outdoors so connoisseurs can enjoy the food and look down at the traffic or enjoy the view of the lit bridges on the Han River."
Address: 90 2nd September Road, Da Nang City
Hour: 10am to 2pm, and from 5pm-11pm
Price: VND40,000-2million for a dish
Comment: Delicious, cool and reasonably priced. The restaurant also helps understand Japanese culture and cuisine.
Yazawa, the restaurant owner, said he had earlier opened a restaurant on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street and named it 'Banjiro,' but he finally moved it to 2nd September Street because of its wide views and large parking lots.
"There are five rooms in the restaurant and each room is named after a famous Samurai of Japan. Their history is explained in English and Vietnamese," he said.
"There are two Tatami rooms of Japan, which are the favourite of not only Japanese, but also Vietnamese and other foreigners.
"Because our kitchen staff has been trained at Banjiro and is now working at Bushido, they have an extensive experience of cooking sushi and sashimi.
"The restaurant is not only about the taste of food, but also helps our customers understand the Japanese culture and history through the interior and exterior decoration of the restaurant," Yazawa said.
Hot pot is always an option for customers in a cool weather and the premium Wagyu Shabu hot-pot is always the best choice for connoisseurs.
Yazawa said beef was imported from Japan via strictly controlled food safety conditions.
Visitors use a gas stove to cook the beef hot-pot themselves, along with vegetables, mushrooms and the traditional Japanese noodle: Udon.
The restaurant currently offers 40 dishes and serves 120 visitors at the same time.
Yazawa also displayed Japanese swords and paintings of Japanese shoguns in the room and corridors.
Kim Anh, a local gastronome said: "There are a lot of Japanese restaurants in Da Nang, but Bushido is one of my favourites."
"The food is very delicious and the prices are reasonable and within my budget. I can enjoy different kinds of beef. The service staff is also very enthusiastic and always say 'Irashaimase' in a booming voice."
Erik Foss, a foreigner living in Da Nang, said "The setup of this restaurant is perfect for a Yakiniku style of dining, while the menu offers plenty of tasty options for those who are not interested in premium grilled meats."
"I have dined at Bushido thrice and look forward to returning," he said.
The restaurant's staff sometimes wears kimonos and yukatas during special occasions. — VNS