A fun restaurant that pays homage to the seaside dining culture of Japan
There are plenty of seafood restaurants in Lei Yue Mun, the small fishing village just off Yau Tong, but there are none quite like Sankason Suisan. Located on the Sam Ka Tsuen Ferry Pier (a short boat ride away from Sai Wan Ho for Islanders), the restaurant is peppered with all sorts of kitsch Japanese accents, including sake barrels, a taiko drum and a giant, backlit crab ornament right by the entrance.
The restaurant specialises in hamayaki – a type of seaside barbecue dining popular with fisherpeople in Japan. Several tanks by the open kitchen display the day’s freshest wares (all market price), from jet-flown clams to fish caught by the shores of Lei Yue Mun itself.
Raw preparations are available but this isn’t where the restaurant excels. The sushi we start with is definitely skippable, especially with its loose and poorly seasoned rice. We quickly move on to the grilled items, which can be prepared directly at your table or off by the kitchen for those who don’t want to smell like a barbecued bivalve come the end of the evening.
We start with the giant yesso scallops ($98/each), which are served in jus and on-shell. The meat is sweet and thick, if just a touch overcooked in the centre. We prefer the smaller moon scallops ($148/four), which taste sea fresh with a slight creaminess. The succulent Venus clams ($98/two) are also worth ordering but the real stars of the show are the oysters from Iwate ($48/each). With shells the size of our hands, these oysters are wonderfully plump, with fat bellies swelled with brine.
Aside from the grilled goods, be sure to order the boiled goose barnacles ($188) if they’re available. They’re ugly and messy but they’re also delicious, with every small nub of meat imbibed in the saline flavours of the sea. We also try the nabe ($988), Japanese hotpot, which arrives with a whole lobster, prawns, Canadian clams, mushrooms and greens in a pot of kombu and bonito broth. It’s hearty enough to feed four. Thin slices of grade A4 Miyazaki wagyu beef and black Iberian pork from Japan are served on the side, ready to be swished in the soup once it begins to bubble. Both cow and pig are well-marbled and full-flavoured without tasting overly fatty. The more you cook, the richer the nabe broth gets – perfect for the kuzukiri (slippery arrowroot noodles) that sit at the bottom of the pot, soaking up all the meat and seafood essence.
For dessert, the restaurant offers several sorbets served in the fruits they’re made of. The peach sorbet ($70) is aromatic but becomes saccharine within a few bites. Try the yuzu instead ($70), which is tart and refreshing in all the best possible ways.
Service is mixed – some of the staff are knowledgeable and helpful while others look as if they can’t tell the difference between a clam and a scallop. On balance, the food is a similarly mixed bag at Sankason Suisan. Still, if you’re yearning for freshly grilled seafood in a fun and theatrical setting, it’s still a place worth shelling out for.
|Venue name:||Sankason Suisan|
Sam Ka Tsuen Pier East
Shung Shun Street, Lei Yu Mun
|Opening hours:||Daily 5.30pm-12.30am|
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