Friday, December 5, 2008

Eat Out in Japan ------ KIKUYA "Chrysanthemum House"

2 December 2008


Chrystanthemum House
385 NakamachiNarita, Chiba, Japan
Tel: 0476-22-0236
Open 10:00a.m. - 9:00p.m. Closed on Tuesdays

As we continue from Ramen Bayashi, we were mesmerised with the sights and sounds around us and the beautiful red autumn leaves just simply captured our attention as with scores of other eateries there.
We were told to look out for Kikuya Chrysanthemum House at the end of the trail just before Narita-san Shinshoji Temple, to be precise it's just opposite the tourist information counter. There was no mistake that soon we found fronting a shop, displays of eels freshly killed and deskinned and charcoal grilled right on the spot and this is just next to Kikuya, very happening place indeed.

We were told this new kid on the block is opened to tap on the growing popularity of their next door neighbour to capture the crowd who loves that tray of unagi with rice.

However, this neighbour is having full house with tatami seats all taken by the locals and they knows the best. However, we continue to sniff out at Kikuya instead believing the we will dine in an institution that have centuries of experience, culinary expertise in preparation based on tradition and for this they must be worth the visit and try and not to be missed by the excitement next door.

Kiku in Japanese means Chrysanthemum and hence Kikuya is known as Chrysanthemum House. In fact a plaque with Chrysanthemum embroidery sits on the shelf and this was dedicated to them by the nearby famous temple.
Kikuya is a respectable grand old dame which historically dates back to 300years of existence in this business and the present owner, Akiko Ishibashi-san with her husband, is the 11th generation in line. It's mind blowing that it survived and surpassed all the cyclical economics with its ups and downturns over such long passage of time and yet Kikuya stood up to it.

Akiko-san is ready to greet you at your table, clad in her kimono, she represents a new generation who will not let you feel lost in Japanese menu but instead converse with you in fluent English as with her helper too, another lady who has been with her for 20years.

Their popular cuisine is a mean Una-ju or Unagi Donburi (eel with rice in a box) and the ubiquitous Japanese Tempura.

The Grilled Unagi is lusciously soft, robust with fats, flavourful and a delicacy known for its efficacy as energy booster for strength and vitality. It has been crispily grilled having bast with the brown sweetish sauce first, yet it exudes a full-bodied, fresh and tender bite.

The Ebi Tempura is lightly battered, very delicious with the dipping sauce but the grated daikon is just too little as I enjoyed it with more. However, there was not much tenkasu or the bits of batter thrown in with the meal.

As we were served, Akiko-san remained standing outside the restaurant in the cool autumn-winter air of about 12degC welcoming everyone with a smile. Suddenly there was a batch of Malaysian group of about 15 friends who just arrived, they too were recommended to stop here for this must eat must visit place.

We just had a blast from the past, present today, steeped in history that one should not give it a miss it if you happened to be in the Narita area.

Three Century Old Chrysanthemum House

continues the tradition of serving good UNAGI.....


CUMI & CIKI said...

oo.. making me nostalgic..cannot wait till my next japan trip! ..erm.. i still find unagi too sweet.. but i die for sea urchin ;)

J2Kfm said...

the unagi soooo fat!!! and freshly grilled!!!

oh i'm in heaven! :)

bet it's hard to find the similar stuff here in Msia.

Life for Beginners said...

Oh. You wouldn't believe the things I would do for UNAGI liddat. *drools*

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