The popular Chiyoda Sushi brand in Japan is now making its mark in Saigon
Thanks to its sizeable Japanese expat population, Saigon is blessed with countless fine sushi restaurants, and it’s rare for a new one to power through the stiff competition, but with 25 years of experience behind various sushi restaurants across Tokyo, new sushi chef in town—Moriya Masahiro—is to be reckoned with. And thanks to Chef Moriya, Chiyoda Sushi (178 Pasteur, D1) has distinguished itself with some unique plates found nowhere else in the city. Open since December in Vietnam, the Chiyoda started in 1959 and currently operates over 200 restaurants in Japan.
On recommendation from the owner and chef we tried a bit of everything, and it was phenomenal from start to finish. The first dish were rolls that catered to a more Western palate: Dragon roll (an omelet and vegetable filling covered in thin slices of avocado, VND185,000), and the Ebi Ten Roll (battered deep fried prawns rolled up and topped with salmon roe with a side of house-made sauce, VND105,000). The former roll was soft with a delightful creamy texture provided by the avocado, while the latter roll was a fantastic textural mix of crunch and softness from the fried prawns and roe.
Possibly one of the best sakes I’ve had, Hakutsuru Mizore (VND328,000 for a small bottle that serves two) is a dry yet fruity spirit, which we had served cold. For the price, it’s practically a steal, giving most top shelf competitors a run for their money. As we savored the sake, they brought us the dish that stole the night— Saba Bou Specialty Sushi (VND150,000 half portion, or VND290,000 full portion). Consisting of pressed slices of mackerel served in perfectly sliced larger rectangles on rice layered with flat pieces of seaweed and artistically interlocked with a thin tube of ginger, where the backbone was previously removed. Mackerel is usually oily with a strong fishy flavor, however, paired with layers of seaweed strips and ginger and it becomes a one-of-a-kind exotic twist on sushi, and if you have never had anything like it we highly recommend giving it a try. Following this we enjoyed a beautiful Tokusen Sushi Mori mixed sushi platter (VND298,000), a mix of ark shell, prawn, scallop, yellowtail tuna, salmon, sea bream and flake fin. Each piece was a testament to Chiyoda’s dedication to sourcing and importing the freshest cuts possible.
Here I delved into unknown territory, which left me equally impressed—flame grilled nigari—a heavenly fusion of half roasted and half raw fish, both sides complementing each other beautifully. We ordered the Aburi Nigiri Zukushi (VND198,000), which came with scallop, salmon, prawn, yellowtail and flake fin nigiri, all so soft and delicate that we were able to divide them all perfectly with a butter knife.
On recommendation of the chef, we tried one of the Agedashi tofu, (VND50,000). It was essentially soft deep-fried tofu squares served in a rich beef broth, the contrasting tastes and textures were absolutely delicious and served as a nice contrast from the flow of raw fish. Last but not least, an array of gorgeously plated sashimi on a bed of ice and various types of seaweed. We were treated to three very contrasting piles of fresh raw sea creatures: Toro tuna stomach (VND388,000), salmon (VND118,000) and giant snail, iketsubugai sashimi (VND238,000). The salmon was sweet and wonderfully soft on the tongue, but here I must highlight a flavor and texture combo that I’ve never had before, the giant snail was an aqueous and crunchy experience packed with a light yet satisfying flavor, and the toro was sweet and slightly fatty which melted in our mouths, both an absolute delight to eat and finish our meal with.
Images Provided by Ngoc Tran