It’s the Dawn of the Dons: Restaurants that deal in classic Japanese rice bowl dishes are on the rise in the Klang Valley. From Donburi to Chirashi Don, there’s nothing quite as gratifying as these traditional servings of rice heaving with a plethora of toppings, from seafood to meat to vegetables, raw or cooked – here are 15 places for Japanese soul food at its heartiest.

1. Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara

1. Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu 2. Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu

The Klang Valley’s first restaurant that specialises in authentic ‘tendon’ (tempura donburi) is now open, serving bowl after bowl of steamed rice heaped with battered seafood & vegetables, showered with a light soy dressing. Prepared to order by Japanese cooks who have been under the tutelage of Tokyo-based chef Tanahira Akimitsu, loaded with varying mixes of freshly deep-fried tempura that range from conger eel, large prawns, squid, oysters, & whiting fish to beni shoga pickled ginger, okra, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant & pumpkin.

Find: Contact details and map for Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu

Read review: Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu at Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara

2. Uokatsu at Plaza Damas 3, Sri Hartamas

3. Uokatsu 5. Uokatsu

Uokatsu’s rice bowl recipes furnish warm, creamy comfort, resting on classic traditions of cooking. Whether it’s the Tai Meshi, blanketed with sea bream, seaweed & a raw egg, or the Mentai Rice, burnished with soft, thick strips of roe-topped omelette, this is the sort of lunch that Uokatsu’s loyalists return for over & over again.

Find: Contact details and map for Uokatsu Japanese Restaurant

Read review: Uokatsu at Plaza Damas 3, Sri Hartamas

3. Robata Monkey at Jaya One

6. Robata Monkey 7. Robata Monkey

Robata Monkey might be best known for its slow-grilled Japanese fare, but there’s a sushi bar here as well, so customers can indulge in bowls of rice crowned with the likes of salmon sashimi & roe, or with tuna, or the classic ‘chirashi’ mixed fish variety.

Find: Contact details and map for Robata Monkey

Read review: Robata Monkey at Jaya One

4. Hayadon at Wisma Cosway

8. Hayadon 9. Hayadon

Hayadon, with a tagline ‘Great Don, Spot On,’ has branches in Wisma Cosway & Quill City Mall, nailing the formula for fuss-free comfort fare at crowd-pleasing prices. Options like the okayodon (with simmered chicken, egg & scallions over rice) & the tender beef don make for satisfying meals, served steaming-hot with a blanket of fresh-flavoured toppings. Small wonder there’s a big lunch crowd here.

Find: Contact details and map for Hayadon

Read review: Hayadon at Wisma Cosway

5. Hana at Sunway Pyramid

10. Hana

Hana’s sterling donburi of vinegared rice comes draped with glistening slices of otoro, the most mouth-watering section of a tuna’s belly.

Find: Contact details and map for Hana

Read review: Hana Sake + Dining at Sunway Pyramid

6. Tsubohachi at Solaris Dutamas

11. Tsubohachi

Traditional ‘kamameshi’ is available at Tsubohachi – rice cooked at the table in oven pots, ideally consumed communally, transferred into smaller bowls. There’s a 20-minute wait for this to be ready, but the result is steaming-hot comfort fare, with smoky-fragrant rice crowned with, say, a seafood mix of king crab legs, scallops & salmon, or with unagi, chicken or assorted mushrooms.

Find: Contact details and map for Tsubohachi

Read review: Tsubohachi at Solaris Dutamas

7. Prologue at Taman Paramount

12. Prologue

Prologue’s forte is no-nonsense fare that’s both well-executed & well-priced, including offerings like this gyu-yakiniku don, a rice bowl bountifully heaped with tender & tasty sliced beef.

Find: Contact details and map for Prologue

Read review: Prologue at Taman Paramount

8. Tea Press Japanese Roasters in Damansara Uptown

13. Tea Press Japanese Roasters 14. Tea Press Japanese Roasters

This is an ideal venue for authentic ochazuke – cooked rice poured over with hot water, dashi or green tea. The version here is mackerel-topped, served with Japanese pickles, egg & simmered veggies.

Find: Contact details and map for Tea Press Japanese Roasters

Read review: Tea Press Japanese Roasters at Damansara Uptown

9. Yamaguchi Fish Market at Kampung Pandan

15. Yamaguchi Fish Market

The akami, sake & kampachi-laden chirashi bowl is an ideal alternative to a platter of sushi, with amaebi & ikura cast in for diversity.

Find: Contact details and map for Yamaguchi Fish Market

Read review: Yamaguchi Fish Market at Kampung Pandan

10. Hacha Mecha at TREC KL

16. Hacha Mecha

KL’s most opulent donburi costs north of RM100 – a rice bowl adorned with Blackmore Wagyu beef slices, foie gras, an onsen egg, black truffles & truffle oil.

Find: Contact details and map for Hacha Mecha

Read review: Hache Mecha at TREC KL

11. Udon Kobo Min Min at Damansara Uptown

17. Udon Kobo Min Min

Udon Kobo Min Min’s main speciality is udon, but it also has an extensive selection of donburi, which come in mini & regular portions. The Katsu Curry Don boasts a crispy-juicy breaded pork cutlet paired with a rich Japanese curry. Other rice bowl options come with salmon sashimi, pork yakiniku or vegetable kakiage.

Find: Contact details and map for Udon Kobo Min Min

Read review: Udon Kobo Min Min at Damansara Uptown

12. Inaho Sushi at One City Subang

18. Inaho Sushi

For hearty appetites, this bara chirashi don proves a stomach-stuffer of a high order, piled with dice-cut assorted seafood, tamago & more avocado, enveloping a big bowl of sushi rice.

Find: Contact details and map for Inaho Sushi

Read review: Inaho Sushi at One City USJ Skypark

13. Aka Café at Taman Desa

19. Aka Café

It’s served on a platter instead of a bowl, but the result is similar enough – this chicken stew with carrots, potatoes & rice conveys wholesome, home-made flavours.

Find: Contact details and map for Aka Café

Read review: Aka Café at Taman Desa

14. Fukuda at Desa Sri Hartamas

20. Fukuda

This dish is a devilish delight: Steamed rice topped with sea urchin & onsen egg.

Find: Contact details and map for Fukuda

Read review: Fukuda Yakitori Dining at Desa Sri Hartamas

15. Mizuiro at Bandar Menjalara

21. Mizuiro

Mizuiro’s Japanese chicken curry with rice is also less punchy than the norm, but it’s still creamy comfort food.

Find: Contact details and map for Mizuiro

Read review: Mizuiro Ramen + Coffee at Bandar Menjalara


9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Shook Ling Wong January 31, 2016 Subscriber

    Wong Shook Wei we must try all these Shook Yeng Wong Shook Yuan

  2. Feesyam Kadir January 30, 2016 Subscriber

    Athin Nabiha

  3. Mei Inn Wong January 29, 2016 Subscriber

    Matthew Liang uni rice

  4. Theresa Tan January 27, 2016 Subscriber

    Alex Toh

  5. SueHsien Chong January 27, 2016 Subscriber

    Marcia Lee Michelle Soong next lunch date!

  6. Amanda Lauren Lee January 21, 2016 Subscriber

    Beatrice Reuben we must go try all of these

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