Have I caught your attention? Haha yes! 板长寿司 ITACHO Sushi at Ion Orchard has moved from their basement 2 unit to a bigger area at basement 3 on 13 September. To commemorate the new opening, a significant Bluefin Tuna Festival was unveiled. Instead of simply cutting ribbons, ITACHO ushered the opening with a celebrated giant bluefin tuna cutting ceremony by their master chef and a traditional Japanese Taiko drum performance.
The bluefin tuna was... HUGE!!! A coveted icon of Japanese cuisine, it couldn't have been more befitting than to have this giant bluefin tuna marked the occasion and signified an auspicious start to the new outlet. If you're wondering how heavy this fish was, I can tell you it weighed about 120kg (*gasp*), much much heavier than many of us!
The master chef demonstrated the skillful art of filleting the prized delicacy and deconstructed it in no time. Very seldom do we get to see big fish tuna cutting ceremonies like this outside of Japan. What an eye opener!
Portions of the huge fish were fillet into tuna blocks, and then into prized cuts of the fish. These will then be used for selection of premium slices for turning them into ruby red sashimi. Tuna cutting is no mean feat and calls for one ranked in the superior skill of Japanese food culinary which requires years of skilled training, precision technique and calculated speed!
For the uninitiated, bluefin is generally the choice for tuna connoisseurs and commands the highest prices compared to the other tuna varieties in the world. It's very much sought after for its high fat content, especially in Japan, because that's where all its flavor comes from. Only specimens of the highest quality are used in sushi and sashimi.
A free tasting of 200 pieces of this delicacy rewarded the crowd who had stood patiently in the queue. I overheard comments like "sweet", "very nice" to "why no soya sauce huh?" lol! But everyone seemed to be enjoying it. These little boys looked so delighted when they got their bluefin tuna sushi that I can't resist asking them for a picture.
We adjourned to ITACHO's sparkling new outlet at B3 after the ceremony was over. The spacious location now houses more seats and ITACHO is optimistic that customers will enjoy a better dining experience than before.
To be very frank, I'm only starting to learn how to appreciate sashimi and sushi recently. Never used to like them and I was told that it's only because I've never tasted the better quality ones yet. This statement couldn't be more true as I felt the fatty cut of Otoro softly melting in my mouth with each chew. Such a sweet, delicate taste, totally unlike what I've tasted before. I like it!
Here's a quick guide to knowing your bluefin tuna:
- Akami: This pure red meat, with a taste and texture almost like very rare filet mignon, is found near the top or back of the fish.
- Chutoro: This cut is choice, marbled, milky-pink meat because of its desirably high fat content. It has a very rich taste and buttery texture and comes from the belly of the fish.
- Otoro: Most choice of all tuna meat, this is the fattiest part of the belly, up near the head. It’s a very pale pink, and it melts on the tongue.
We tried other sushi including salmon and scallop as well and agreed that they were all very fresh. The vinegar rice is seasoned just nicely. I would have eaten more if not for a dinner appointment waiting for me.
ITACHO Sushi is established by Mr Ricky Cheng in 2005. His successful bid for "Japan No.1" bluefin tuna king in Japan's Tsukiji fish market from 2008 to 2011 attracted massive media coverage. In the long history of Tsukiji fish market, the "Japan No.1" has never been successfully bided by non-Japanese!
As part of the Bluefin Tuna Festival, ITACHO will launch a Bluefin tuna promotion at all ITACHO outlets from 13 to 30 September.
Thanks to Serene and ITACHO Sushi for this media invite.
Photos are taken by PinkyPiggu, credit for additional photos goes to ITACHO.
板长寿司 Itacho Sushi
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm / Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Ion Orchard (#B3-20 / Tel: +65 6509 8911)
Plaza Singapura (#02-35 / Tel: +65 63378922)
Bugis Junction (#B1-05 / Tel: +65 63378911)
Changi Airport T3 (#03-30 / Tel: +65 62418911)
JCube (#02-35 / Tel: +65 66844083)
Star Vista (#B1-12 / Tel: +65 66940880)