Hong Kong restaurant reviews

‘Beauty hotpot’ the draw as newly opened Tsukada Noju in Tsim Sha Tsui makes play for women diners with collagen-rich stew

Japanese izakaya woos female guests with its special chicken hotpot that is stuffed full of collagen, but men will also enjoy its various fresh spring rolls

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 5:01pm

Tsukada Nojo, an izakaya chain that started in Japan, stands out from all the other Japanese restaurants that have opened in Hong Kong recently in that it’s focusing on female diners. That’s because its speciality is bijin nabe, literally “beauty hotpot”, a collagen-rich stew made from free-range chicken raised in Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu.

We couldn’t get a booking for the night we wanted, so decided to visit on a Sunday as walk-ins, just as the restaurant opened for dinner. Customers who have made reservations are seated first and have a fantastic view of the harbour; standbys like us are given seats around the bar.

We started the meal with bijin fresh spring rolls, which are colourful and reminded us of the Vietnamese versions. For HK$128, diners can choose three out of the five rice paper roll combinations, which are otherwise HK$48 each. Our favourite was the tuna and Japanese mountain yam roll with a vinaigrette dip, followed by the salmon and avocado, and the shrimp and avocado with a creamy sauce.

Next came the main event, the signature bijin nabe sukiyaki (HK$520), featuring two stacked wooden traysof vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and minced chicken meat. The second layer was half a chicken thathad been parboiled.

A pot was placed on the small induction stove in front of us, and in it was what resembled a large, round creamy pudding, which turned out to be the gelatinous chicken stock. The restaurant claims the chicken bone-based stock has simmered for more than eight hours making it rich with collagen, iron and vitamins A, B1 and B2.

The “pudding” melted into a delicious savoury stock, with very little oil in it.

The bijin nabe was quite healthy because most of the ingredients were vegetables. The minced chicken – shaped into small meatballs – was soft, with a sweet flavour.

Ironically the chicken itself didn’t have much flavour – probably because most of it had already been extracted for the stock.

Dessert of sweet rice paper roll with red bean and strawberries (HK$48) was light and refreshing. We didn’t like the mango and matcha dessert (HK$48) – the matcha ice cream flavour completely overwhelmed the mango slices.

Tsukada Nojo, Shop OTE 202, Level 2, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 17 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2467 0777

While you’re in the area

Restaurant review: 8 Pots in Tsim Sha Tsui – pungent Taiwanese-style hotpots

Restaurant review: Imperial Treasure, Tsim Sha Tsui - delicious Chinese classics from Singapore chain

Restaurant review: Hanbando in Tsim Sha Tsui – modern Korean