While Komuro – a brand-new eight-seat sushi establishment in Shenzhen’s highly polished Nanshan district was born out of the vision of the founders of creating a smaller, intimate restaurant, the message they intend to make with it is far greater.
“We wanted to show the world that there is good sushi available in China,” says Andrew Yip, the owner of Komuro.
To Yip, “good sushi” is about creating for the diners of south-central Chinese city the best real style of Edomae sushi, which is defined by its focus on cured and marinated fish that you can find in Japan.
The other thing that is crucial to the Komuro team for the future is that it is developing its style of sushi that includes greater Chinese elements.
Komuro is only open for one serving of dinner per day.
At the moment, the Chinese influence is restricted to a handful of ingredients, furniture, and interior design elements. They plan to extend it and further develop the identity of the restaurant.
It’s not something that comes naturally like other cities around the globe that have an international cuisine community; Shenzhen’s international dining scene is just beginning its journey. This is particularly true in the case of high-end sushi.
We are currently experimenting with local fish; however, it will take some time to complete the change.
Chef Komuro Duan Jinbo on China’s banning of Japanese seafood imports
The majority of diners in the area aren’t yet able to develop an appreciation for sushi that is authentic as well. There are practical considerations to think about, for instance, the establishment of a Japanese-style kitchen and securing top-quality fish.
Yuichi Arai, chef-owner of the famous Sushi Arai in Ginza, Tokyo, is an advisor for Komuro. The recipe and sequence of sushi that is served at Komuro are identical to Sushi Arai, down to how the fish is cooked and the method of cooking rice.
The restaurant’s connections with Sushi Arai are close. The month of August saw Mei Kogo – a disciple of Arai’s and also one of the only female chefs of sushi in Tokyo participate in the four-hands teamwork with Komuro’s chief sushi chef, Duan Jinbo, who was based in Shenzhen.
Mei Kogo, who is Yuichi’s protégé and is also one of the very few female chefs of sushi in Tokyo, participated in a four-hands partnership with Komuro chef-in-chief Duan Jinbo from Shenzhen.
Duan Duan, who’s made sushi in China for ten years and also completed a six-month learning in Sushi Arai in Tokyo, has made a few changes for Komuro in accordance with the local conditions.
“The eating culture is slightly different in Shenzhen than in Japan, not to mention the different climate,” Duan states. “I have decreased the moisture content of the rice. It’s more finely textured and cooked to an al dente stage. The sharp acidity of rice is maintained in the same, Arai-style.”
The local ingredients are used: Duan uses matsutake, a kind of mushroom that comes from Sichuan, the southwest region of China, kue (long tooth grouper), and shoro fuedai (white star snapper well as buffalo milk for the almond tofu dessert served in restaurants.
Komuro operates under the supervision of Chef Yuichi Arai (center left along with his team), who is the chef-owner of Sushi Arai.
Prior to China’s ban in August on Japanese imports of seafood in reaction in response to Japan’s choice to discharge cleaned waste waters from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, the majority of the fish that was served at Komuro was imported every day via Japan was the exact fish that Sushi Arai served.
Following the ban, the owner of Komura’s restaurant said that the restaurant had found temporary sources of alternative food – for example, tuna from Spain as well as in the United States and Canada. But the plan for the future has been to move to local fishermen gradually.
“We are experimenting with local fish, but because our standard of choosing fish is kept the same as Japan, it will take time to make the full transformation,” Duan states. “Now we’re working with fishermen to teach them the techniques needed.”
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The restaurant held an opening party in April before its official opening in August. The reception has been positive, Yip says. Yip and reservations are for the restaurant, which is still full through 2023.
Yip says they’re extremely selective when it comes to who can dine at the Komuro due to the fact that it is small and only offers one meal every day.
“We also want people who know how to appreciate authentic sushi to come and enjoy what we offer,” Yip declares.
Duan is the sushi chef in charge at Komuro.
Just 20 percent of the slots are available to the public at large, who can book a table via their WeChat account. “The rest are only open to referrals – someone whose friend has already dined at Komuro,” Yip says. Yip.
Between 20-30 percent of the customers come out of other areas in China to explore The sushi culture in Shenzhen.
However, despite the selectiveness of the response, it has not been uniform and not always positive, Yip admits.
Most complaints stem from diners who claim that the sushi is different from the sushi they’re accustomed to eating in China. But, the group behind Komuro has stated that they won’t make any concessions.