Japanese food is great. But it’s also very expensive. So are there any affordable alternatives to the very pricey Japanese restaurants that are usually located in the city’s five star hotels or fancy office buildings?
Well, yes there are. And one of them is Zenbu, a bright and cheerful little restaurant located in the new extension to the venerable Plaza Indonesia shopping mall.
The restaurant is open-planned making it ideal for claustrophobes like me, in addition to being a great place to participate in Jakarta’s most popular shopping mall activity – people watching. :)
Without further ado, let’s get onto the food.
Well, first the sushi.
Plenty of choices here starting from about Rp25,000 (4 pieces) up to around Rp80,000 (6 pieces). The sushi is fresh, tastes pretty good and is a comfortable 7/10. The accompanying wasabi is fine – even though it isn’t real wasabi of course (see below).
If that doesn’t fill you up, then there are plenty of other dishes that will.
Like the salmon muzaro which comes with lashings of mozzarella cheese on top to send the calorie count through the roof. You can choose from chicken, beef, prawn or salmon topings and either a tomato, butter or spicy sauce.
Drinks are fairly pricey so if you are a cheapskate like me just ask for the Japanese tea (ocha) which they will give you for free.
Plaza Indonesia Extension Fifth floor,
Jl. MH. Thamrin Kav. 28-30
Interesting facts on Japanese food (compiled from various sources):
- That spicy wasabi that you love is almost certainly not real wasabi. This stuff is difficult to cultivate and sells for up to US$100/pound! Hence, most restaurants outside of Japan use a common substitute comprising horseradish, mustard, and green food coloring!!!
- The 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to some Japanese researchers who determined the ideal density of airborne wasabi needed to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi fire alarm!
- Japanese food can be bloody expensive because its ingredients are bloody expensive. In 2001, a sushi grade 444 pound Bluefin Tuna was sold for US$173,600 in Tokyo, or more expensive than your typical house in Jakarta!
- According to US regulations, all fish to be eaten raw in the US (with the exception of tuna) must be frozen first to kill any parasites (nice to know!)
- We all know that the Japanese have some wacky sexual predilections. One of them is 'Nyotaimori' - the Japanese tradition of eating sushi off a perfectly still, naked woman's body. Sounds great to me. When will they bring this to Jakarta?