Healthy Eating: The Japanese Way – Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant

Established for over 10 years, Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant has two stores in Central and Causeway Bay. The restaurant is well known for its quality ingredients and skillful cookery. To offer healthy dishes to customers, Tsukiji has put in a great deal of effort. The chef and operating manager at the Causeway Bay Branch, Mr WU Hoi-kin, shares with us the inside story.

Authentic Japanese Dishes with Less Oil, Salt and Sugar

According to Chef WU, who is affectionately known as “Fish”, the authentic Japanese cuisine is light in flavour and puts great emphasis on delivering the fresh taste of the ingredients. However, to adjust to local taste, some Japanese dishes have a stronger flavour and plently of wok hei (the aroma and taste imparted by a hot wok on food). Since joining the “” Campaign, Tsukiji has further reduced the use of oil, salt and sugar. To bring out the flavour of the dishes, the restaurant makes use of the water that the kombu and dried bonito flakes were soaked in. This has garnered positive feedback from customers.

Making Healthy Vegetarian Recipes

Five years ago, Tsukiji’s owner was unfortunately diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer. After his recovery, he has become more aware of his eating habits. Wishing to share healthy eating ideas with his customers, he works with Chef WU to devise recipes that are rich in nutrition.

Chef WU revealed that while Tsukiji is committed to using healthy ingredients, the restaurant has not forgotten about preserving the characteristics of the Japanese cuisine. “Our target is not simply about selling more dishes or making money. It is also about promoting healthy eating.” The “Veggie Sushi Set” is exactly an embodiment of the restaurant’s vision. This meal set comprises sushi, bamboo charcoal cold noodles and various vegetarian side dishes. In a bold and unconventional move, the sushi is made with brown rice and quinoa, thereby offering a gritty mouthfeel. In 2010, the “Veggie Sushi Set” won the bronze prize at the EatSmart Restaurant Cooking Competition organised by CookSmart. Despite this achievement, Chef WU still strives for perfection and dares not be complacent. He keeps thinking about how to improve the texture and flavour of this award-winning dish.

At the beginning, the reception to the “Veggie Sushi Set” was lukewarm. There might only be one or two orders per day. Chef WU said that while the staff felt discouraged at first, they have been persistent with their effort and try to make improvement all the time. Promotion work has also been carried out by Green Monday. Subsequently, the “Veggie Sushi Set” has become the signature dish of the restaurant. Following this successful experience, the restaurant staff become more eager to devise other healthy recipes.

Chef WU Hoi-kin is in charge of the Causeway Bay branch of Tsukiji Japanese Restaurant. Apart from undertaking kitchen and table serving duties, he also works on new healthy recipes. His vision is to help establish Tsukiji as a restaurant with a conscience.

Extract from CookSmart, Issue 29