Gerai Makanan Japanese BBQ @ Taman Desa: A Smokey Birthday Celebration

“Are you sure you want to eat there?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I hear the food’s good.”
“I have no doubt in that. It’s Hunk-san’s place after all. But it’s your birthday, wouldn’t you prefer some place fancier?”

It’s funny how quickly everybody assumes that I’m a food snob with high taste just because I write about food. Truth be told I’m easily satisfied when it comes to matters of the stomach. I can tolerate most eating environments and I consider myself quite daring when it comes to trying exotic dishes as long as the food taste good. The only thing I just can’t tolerate is BAD food. Seriously, is that too hard to ask for? A pre-requisite which hardly needs to be bestowed upon a snobbish title.

Seriously.

Gerai Makanan Japanese BBQ Taman Desa_1.jpg

Two evenings later, after a grueling month at work, I found myself in the dark backalleys of Plaza Faber in Taman Desa with 3 other makan friends staring at Hunk-san’s new venture with wide eyes. Like an odd mirage out in the dessert, this tiny “gerai makanan” (food shack in english) was a surreal image. Its little signboard hanging out of its side was fuss-free but hardly nondescript, it spelt out exactly what the place was all about: “Gerai Makanan Japanese BBQ.”

For the uninitiated, Hunk-san is Mr. Seiji Fujimoto, who is also the owner of the most sexy udon store in the whole of KL – Sanuki Udon, which happens to be located around this neighborhood too.

Under the red lights of its iconic akach?chin lantern, all 8-tables were taken up by mostly of Japanese clients with warm sake in one hand and ice-cold Asahi beer in other, hovering patiently around a plastic fold-out table as they wait for their meat slices to cook on the shichirin grill. Our eyes were quickly drawn to another corner where a trail of flickering ember dramatically rose to the sky as a worker prepared a new batch of ogatan (traditional charcoal briquettes made from sawdust) for another table, using an electrical table fan. As we looked in disbelieve at the reality of this whole scene – felt like we warped through space and time and found ourselves in Tokyo – the patrons turned around and stared right back at us with yakuza-like dagger eyes. I think they dislike how we have just intruded their secret hideout.

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Yakiniku (???), literally meaning “grilled meat”, is a Japanese term which is used in the broadest sense to refer to grilled meat dishes. But do not confused this with yakitori, which often refers to grilled chicken (and other form of meats) on skewers – which was served at last year’s birthday celebration. Once thought to be a variant of galbi dishes modified by Korean living in Japan, this style of cooking using bite-sized meat and vegetable on griddles over flame of wood charcoal is now widely accepted as Japanese BBQ.

In this yakiniku restaurant, diners could order several types of prepared raw ingredients including beef or pork r?su (loin and chuck slices), karubi or baraniku (short ribs), butabara (pork belly), offal, liver, beef tongue, chicken and a few more variants available from their singular A4 page menu. The ingredients are then cooked by the diners, several pieces at a time, on a grill placed in the middle of the table throughout the duration of the meal. You can choose to either dip the cooked pieces into a sauce mixture of Japanese soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic and sesame or just eat it on its own, as they are typically marinated with salt.

You can also choose to start your meal with an order of Lamb Jingisukan (Japanese-style Mongolian hotplate), and savour on tender pieces of lamb which were very well-marinated. We also ordered the curious Offal Meet Soup, made mostly of tripes and innards slow cooked for hours in a radish soup with plenty of vegetables. You may also want to try the Rice & Egg bowl – Japanese rice, topped with raw egg and drown with the same delicious offal soup gravy. Down this all with a bottle of Ozeki sake, which only cost RM16!

I can now see why the other patrons were so protective of their little secret supper club.

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No birthday celebrations would have been completed without a slice of Fatboybakes cake, which Kenny and his Devil has kindly arranged for in their warm home. The droolsome Salted Caramel Chocolate, complimented with the Diva’s freshly brewed coffee was the perfect way to chill out for the rest of the evening. The night ended with sweet smiles, hearty laughter and a gift suited for Le (not so) Petit Prince.

No.1, No.2, and No.3 – thank you for the wonderful evening.

***

Gerai Makanan Japanese BBQ
Center Court, Plaza Faber,
Jalan Desa Jaya, Taman Desa off Jalan Klang Lama,
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Business Hours: Opens everyday, from 6 p.m until whenever the last customer leaves.

11 Responses to Gerai Makanan Japanese BBQ @ Taman Desa: A Smokey Birthday Celebration
  1. Small Kucing
    August 3, 2011 | 4:47 am

    saw one blog highlighted this plc b4. Nice place to eat

  2. Baby Sumo
    August 3, 2011 | 5:13 am

    I wanted to visit this place after I read abt it on TimeoutKL, but Hubby says too hot for him! :(

  3. Life for Beginners | Kenny Mah
    August 3, 2011 | 5:19 am

    I'm No. 1, right? Them other two can be No. 2 and No. 3 lah. *guffaws*

    And hooray for not having fancy tastebuds cos Devil and I had wanted to try Hunk-san's BBQ place for ages but just needed some company. And what fantastic company we had that night.

    You really ought to have a birthday every week lah, bro. :)

  4. Sean
    August 3, 2011 | 6:01 am

    ooo, pork liver yakiniku … that's something i rarely see! sounds like the perfect place for hot-blooded carnivores. with all that food and booze available, i can imagine not leaving until 3 a.m. :D

  5. Pureglutton
    August 3, 2011 | 10:31 am

    Nice :) Such a lovely celebration among friends.

  6. J2Kfm
    August 3, 2011 | 3:31 pm

    And I thought that was a name you made up. Haha …. unimaginative yet creative.
    Great find, would be a perfect spot for comfort food away from the city. Japanese street food in our very own backyard.

  7. Merv
    August 3, 2011 | 5:38 pm

    Jon, I often go to ikkyu at Plaza Faber for my nihon food… now thanks to you, I have another option to try out… What I like about ikkyu is that they served typical japanese home cooked meals. They made these meals to be like side dishes along with the ala carte main menu.

    I would recommend you to try their potato sarada, I love their version and their koya tofu, A special kind of tofu made on some occasion.. think of sponge… and tofu put together… :)

    ???????

  8. qwazymonkey
    August 3, 2011 | 5:48 pm

    Small Kucing: Yea, I think there are a few including KLUE and TimeOut recently.

    Babysumo: Give him an ice-cold Asahi and he should be happy. But I was just talking to my dinner mates the other day that this would be a perfect place to come after a rainy day

    Kenny: Whichever number you are, you're part of the awesome foursome…or have we expanded to become the furious five? LOL

    Sean: One of our dinner mates truly enjoyed her fair share of liver that night. Best part is, you can use to cook it however you like it.

    Pureglutton: Indeed it was!

    J2KFM: I know I like to give odd names to places, but this was not my own doing. LOL You should go try it too. I know how much you love some Korean BBQ.

  9. Corinne @ Gourmantic
    August 4, 2011 | 11:13 pm

    At least the fire in the first pic is not from birthday candles! :P

    Looks like a cool spot to burn fat… then eat it! Glad you enjoyed the birthday celebration :)

  10. J2Kfm
    August 7, 2011 | 3:51 pm

    Yeah … lets do Jap BBQ this round, drag the lady along too …

  11. Brother B
    August 8, 2011 | 11:57 am

    Now that you mentioned, Asam Pedas is indeed a dish synomynous with Melaka. I remembered after heavy drinking at night, we used to stop by this Gerai that served piping hot Assam fish at 2 a.m.
    BTW- someone once asked me – why is there an English spelling (Malacca) for Melaka?

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