February 10, 2009 / 6:01 AM / 10 years ago

Japan on a plate at new Jakarta restaurant

JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - It doesn’t get more Japanese than sushi, soba and sumo, and Jakartans can now have a taste of it all at a new restaurant that aims to bring Japan to Indonesia.

Kuishinbo Japan, set in a Jakarta shopping mall, is a huge restaurant that offers a plethora of Japanese dishes as well as origami classes, flower arranging and a sumo wrestling ring.

Diners can also learn more about Japanese icons such as ornamental dolls and the famous cherry blossoms by reading their table mats and there are plans to bring in ninjas to perform.

“We want to pass the knowledge of Japanese culture to future generations through activities and events as well as food,” said restaurant spokesman Reino Barack.

“It’s a village where you can really feel that you’re in Japan, although ironically, if you look outside the window, you’re in Jakarta,” he added.

Kuishinbo’s size lends itself well to activities, and the restaurant can hold over 220 people spread out over seven different sections. The decor is typically Japanese: paper walls separate the sections, there are paintings of sumo wrestlers and waiters in kimonos greet customers in Japanese.

Unlike other Japanese restaurants in the city, there are seven menus to chose from, offering everything from curries to sushi and sashimi to deep fried tofu dishes.

For dessert, there are green tea cheesecakes and the pancake-like dorayakis to choose from.

“Most Japanese restaurants specialize in one, two or maximum three kinds of foods,” said Barack. “If you go to a sushi restaurant, you probably won’t be able to have a curry rice. Or If you go to a ramen restaurant, you probably won’t have soba.”

Kuishinbo, which Barack said means “big eater” in Japanese, also challenges diners to eat one kg (lb) of the dish of their choice in less than 25 minutes. If they succeed, their meal is free.

According to Barack, only one Indonesian customer has so far managed to wolf down his meal in the allotted time.

“Next time, we will put the big eater in the middle of the sumo ring, because it is fun to watch,” Barack said.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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