The certification program of Japanese Food and Ingredient Supporter Stores Overseas
Interview of Suppoter Stores Kisara
Carefully Selected Ingredients to Meet the Expectations of VIPs
High-end Japanese Restaurant
Bangkok / Thailand
Authentic Taste that Entertains Food Lovers from Around the World
Embassies and diverse cultures coexist on Wireless Street in central Bangkok. In this multicultural area are numerous luxury hotels, among them Hilton’s most luxurious brand, Conrad Bangkok, houses the Japanese restaurant KiSara. The interior extolls the traditional aesthetic of Japan and is stately and spectacular. The carefully selected, finest of the finest ingredients are said to entertain all the five senses, and the restaurant is highly regarded by celebrities from all around the world.
Supervising the restaurant is head chef Mr. Kenji Shindo, an experienced international chef who previously worked for Hotel New Otani and Disney Ambassador Hotel as well as five-star hotels in Spain and Taiwan. He has also worked a total of ten years in five-star hotels in Thailand. According to Mr. Shindo, “By serving authentic Japanese food that satisfies the VIPs allows the hotel to maintain its high status and gives an incentive for the customers to stay at the hotel again. This is the important mission of hotel restaurants.” Just as he says, the customers that patronize KiSara are government officials, embassy staff, and business people from Japanese and foreign companies who seek authenticity. Many of the people associated with the neighboring embassies have experience working in other Asian countries, including Japan, and have a deep knowledge of Japanese food. Consequently, a lot of effort is put into selecting the ingredients.
Serves Hida-gyu, a Rarity Even in Japan
KiSara’s top signature dish is Hida-gyu beef from Gifu Prefecture. It is known for its vividness, delicate texture, beautiful marbling, tenderness, and melt-in-the-mouth taste, while the red meat retains its bold, beefy flavor. The brand has won numerous gold medals in the so-called “Olympics of wagyu” competitive exhibition. Because the production amount is small, and most of which is consumed in Gifu or its neighboring prefectures, some people call it the “phantom beef.” Availability of this beef is very limited in Thailand, and Conrad is the only hotel that serves it. KiSara’s strength lies in its ability to provide such a rare product at a price not so different to the ones sold in Japan. The restaurant is also committed to participating in various collaborative projects such as those organized by the prefectures,
as well as the “Taste of JAPAN” event hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and has developed menus that focus on regional specialties, including collaborative dinners with Kagoshima Prefecture’s organic unagi eel and Kyoto’s established sake breweries. It also holds regular tasting events for the Thai and Japanese media, and its contribution to promoting the diverse appeal of Japanese food is immeasurable.
Focusing on Finding Ingredients that Can Only be Enjoyed at KiSara
About 50 percent of the ingredients come from Japan. Most of those ingredients are purchased from suppliers, but if a particular ingredient is deemed necessary when organizing a collaborative project with the government or prefectures, they will take as long it would take, sometimes even years, to build a supply route, form trust with the suppliers, and have them prepare an ingredient that meets the exact requirements. Mr. Shindo says frankly, “I am not interested in something that one can easily find anywhere. I want the best, so I spare no time and effort looking for it. We always need to look ahead, be the transmitter, and provide the highest quality service for our guests. This is the policy of Hilton.
” His proudest dish is “Hida-gyu hoba-yaki,” a traditional Gifu dish. A piece of Hida-gyu is placed on a hoba magnolia leaf, and the dish is ready to be eaten when the specially made miso sauce is slowly and gradually absorbed into the meat. Thorough preparation goes into the dish; the charcoal used for the grill is made through the same method as bincho charcoal, and a Hida stove from Japan is used for the cooking. Beauty is in the details of the presentation for the “Luxury Hida-gyu roll,” and the “Tokujo unagi hitsumabushi gohan,” where eel from Kagoshima to which a dashi stock made of bonito flakes from Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture and Hidaka-kombu kelp is added, is another popular dish. The seaweed salt, wasabi, burdock root, and leaf mustard are all from Japan and, according to Mr. Shindo, their “safety and reliability” are thoroughly ensured.
Japanese Sake Served in Small Tasting Sizes
In terms of Japanese alcohol, KiSara stocks seven types of shochu and 18 types of sake. Japanese staff explain the products in detail, and if time allows, Mr. Shindo will come out of the kitchen to help guests select their drinks. After watching American and European customers sharing a 300ml bottle, Mr. Shindo decided to stock more small bottles of various sake to encourage them to try more sake. “Wine has now fully penetrated the upper class in Thailand. I would like to see the same thing happen with Japanese sake.” By saying this statement, Mr. Shindo shows strong energy, being exerted by a real expert who has been beloved by the world’s international starred hotels.