The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas
Interview of Suppoter Stores Don
Offering the greatest variety of seafood in Thailand
Selection of products based on mutual trust with suppliers
Bangkok / Thailand
Most of Our Ingredients Are from Japan
Every time you dine at kaiseki restaurant Don, you can expect to find Edomae-style sushi and a variety of sashimi using freshly flown-in seafood from Japan. Don opened in Thong Lo in 2013 and moved to its current location in Ekkamai in 2015. This charming two-story restaurant also offers private rooms with kotatsu tables built into the floor, catering to customers who prefer a more relaxed and quiet dining experience.
Their concept is to prepare carefully selected Japanese ingredients for Japanese residents in Thailand at a reasonable price. To substantiate this concept, most of the 130 or so dishes that comprise the main menu and the 20 or so specials that are updated two to three times a week are prepared using ingredients from Japan, excluding the yakumi herbs and spices and the vegetables. Ainame (greenling) from Hokkaido, seabass from Chiba, shima-aodai (saddle-back snapper) from Kagoshima, and oysters from Iwate are just some of the seafood that arrive from the supplier in Tsukiji fish market four times a week and line the sushi counter. Executive chef Akira Hosaka, who has a 30-year career in this industry, confidently says, “We get a lot of customers who love fish. I am quite convinced that we offer the greatest variety of fish anywhere in Thailand.”
Ingredients and Alcoholic Beverages from Hyogo and Yamanashi
The most popular dish using ingredients from Japan is the chef’s choice of seven sashimi, in which two slices each of seven types of fish are mounted on a plate. Both Japanese and local Thai customers frequently order this dish, and on this particular day, Don was serving extremely fresh tuna from Nagasaki, kanpachi (greater amberjack) from Ehime, horse mackerel from Hyogo, and red sea bream and isaki (grunt) from Kagoshima. Thai customers also enjoy tuna, sea urchin, and anago (conger eel) sushi.
「 Don’s forte is its rich variety of ingredients and alcoholic beverages that are cheaply sourced from Hyogo, the restaurant owner’s hometown, and from Yamanishi, Mr. Hosaka’s hometown. The restaurant stocks around 50 brands of Japanese alcohol, including Japanese sake, shochu, and wine. Through the background and connections of the restaurant owner, Don has been able to source and serve “Kikumasamune Namachozoshu,” “Kikumasamune Josen Kimoto Honjozo Karakuchi,” and “Kikumasamune Kahogura Junmaidaiginjo,” and similarly, “Shichiken Furinbizan Junmaishu” and “Yahagi wine” through Mr. Hosaka’s background and connections. These beverages are provided at a reasonable price and enjoyed by many of the regulars. Seasonal fruit such as white peaches, grapes, and persimmon are also brought in from Yamanashi, and their juiciness, flavor, and aesthetic appearance have proven to be particularly popular among Thai customers.
High-Quality and Reliable Sourcing through Mutual Trust with the Supplier
Fifteen to twenty kilos of seafood from Tsukiji arrive at Don for each shipment. Most of the seafood is the recommendation of the supplier. Mr. Hosaka decides on the order from the item list sent by the supplier via the mobile app LINE. He makes requests for specific types of seafood or from a specific region for only some of the orders. “That’s because if we make specific orders, the prices go up. Some of our customers may tell us that they want to eat whale meat, for example, but if we ask our supplier for whale, the price of the dish will become more expensive. As we have already built trust with our supplier, it is up to the chef to take the recommended ingredients and prepare them in a way that best suits the fish.” Occasionally, when the quality is lower than expected, Mr. Hosaka would notify the supplier and request that corrective measures are taken. On the other hand, when the quality is higher than expected, he never forgets to tell the supplier that it was good or that the customers enjoyed it. Through constant and detailed communication, Don has been able to ensure high-quality and reliable sourcing.
Fresh Seafood Attracts Both Japanese and Thai Customers
When fresh seafood arrives, Mr. Hosaka sends images to his regular customers through LINE and posts them on Facebook to entice customers to come to the restaurant. Restaurant staff also explain the specials of the day and where they are from to the customers. Sixty percent of the clients are Japanese, while the rest are Thai, but the number of Thai customers is gradually increasing. Fresh Japanese ingredients have not only been effective in attracting Japanese people living in Thailand, but also Thai people. “Unlike the Japanese, a lot of our Thai customers order the chef’s choice of dishes. To live up to their expectations, we need to further deepen trust with our supplier and continue to provide seasonal and tasty seafood.”