Pan Asian

Kirin's Megumi is one of the best premier Japanese beers brewed by the Kirin Brewery Company.
It is the only Japanese beer brewed in Australia.
The Megumi beer is now available at some of Melbourne's leading restaurants.This refreshing premier beer can be enjoyed with many different types of cuisines.

Mr. Ikuei Arakane

As a single word Eikichi Yazawa said…
Born in Hyogo, his friends call him 'Kin San'. For Kin San, "Cooking is all about having fun. I can't get enough of it because I can cook whatever I like and however I like. Above all, I like to see the smiles on people's faces as they enjoy my cooking." These words might strike the reader as a cliche, but coming from Kin San, they can't be more sincere.

Always smiling, he possesses a pleasant sense of humor. But his mien changes drastically once he steps into the kitchen. His austere expression hints at a past full of hardships, even though he makes no mention of them. And one hardly fails to recognize in his demeanor a sense of honor and dignity, which he probably acquired as a result of these hardships.

The reason why he came to Australia in the first place is quite interesting. While he was working at a restaurant in a hotel in Osaka, he came to know Eikichi Yazawa, a legendary Japanese Rock'n Rolla. One day, out of curiosity, Kin San asked him, "Is going overseas as great as everyone makes it out to be?" To which Yazawa responded, "Yeah, of course it is. It's definitely worth a try." Before he knew it, Kin San quit his job and chose Melbourne as his destination despite the fact that he spoke very little English, simply because it was a road less traveled for a talented chef.
Important to know ingredients like the back of your hand

It has been twenty years since that decision, and within that time, Kin San has achieved an unshakable stature in the culinary world where he commands respect within the Australian restaurant industry. If you try to read out loud the list of restaurants he has worked at throughout his career, you would need to pause more than once for air. He received the Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year Award in 2006 as Head Chef at Taxi, a restaurant located in Federation Square. Today, while he works as an advisor for several restaurants, Pan Asian is the only restaurant where he actually wields his culinary wand.

The reason why Kin San receives as much attention as he does is not only due to his exquisite management skills but also his undeniable talent as a chef. Other chefs usually stand in awe when they hear the combinations of ingredients Kin San comes up with. All business now, Kin San says, "The most important thing, above all else, is to know your ingredients like the back of your hand." Where do his awe-inspiring ideas come from?


Invent a dish by looking at the tableware?
Ideas for a new dish, Kin San tells me, come to him as he walks through the market. Various combinations of ingredients strike his imagination in what can be best described as a moment of inspiration, and he tries out these combinations as soon as he gets back to his kitchen. He also leaves a notepad beside his bed in case a new idea comes to him in his sleeps and writes it down as soon as he wakes up. More often than not, he goes back to these notes and is surprised by what is jotted down. It is in moments like these that Kin San finds his greatest pleasure.

Another culinary forte of Kin San's lies in his ability to invent a dish by looking at the tableware placed before him. Contemplating over what ingredients might "suit," say, a plate in front of him and how to best present them is one of his favorite pastimes. His fervor for place settings is amply reflected in his impressive collection at home. When he serves a dish on a Western style plate, Kin San explains, the presentation naturally becomes more complicated since they tend to be white and plane in design. On the other hand, because Japanese dishes are works of art in and of themselves, his culinary creations presented tend to be simple in order to compliment the aesthetic nature of these dishes. He also often finds himself matching people with tableware that suits them, thereby creating dishes that are catered specifically to each person.

When I asked Kin San to recommend five of his favorite dishes for a hot summer day, which would also go well with an ice-cold Kirin Megumi, this is what I got:

Sushi rice, mayonnaise mixed with hot chili, lemongrass, coriander, lettuce, egg seasoned with Chinese spices, and crab meat are spread over a soy-based sheet sprinkled with shiso (perilla) powder, and then rolled. To add a crunchy sensation, the rolls are garnished with fried pastries. The sushi rolls are then perfected with a sauce that uses mint and vinegar as a base. A delightful mixture of Japanese and Thai cuisine.



Japanese beef streaked with fine veins of fat is placed on thinly sliced white radish, served with salsa made from échalote, lime, scallion, and sesame, and a dressing that uses saikyo miso and lime as a base, which is then garnished with pear to bring out the sweetness. The dish is then topped with sesame, shiso, and garlic chips fried to tone down its bitterness.




Dory fillet, salted and sautéed, is served with a salad of mint, coriander, and échalote tossed with red Nan Jin sauce (a Thai sweet-and-sour sauce).







Sautéed barramundi fillets are served with a Szechuan style mabo sauce, seasoned rather lightly with minced pork, Yukina (a Japanese vegetable similar to Chinese cabbage), zhacai (preserved Szechwan pickles), ginger, oyster sause, and dou ban jiang , garnished with coriander and topped with a splash of sansyo (Japanese pepper) oil.




Scallops, tossed in Tandoori paste and seared over charcoal, are placed on top of parsnip and apricot puree and topped with cucumber yogurt, kiwi, and curry oil.




Beer tastes so good!!

Kirin Megumi is the only Japanese beer that is produced locally in Australia. The hallmark of Kirin Megumi is its delicate flavor, brought out by the first press manufacturing method. When asked about his own impression of Kirin Megumi, Kin San, who happens to be a big beer fan, declared (drinking a sip of Kirin Megumi) "Beer tastes so good! And there are many Japanese beers in Australia, but most of them are imported. So I gotta give it to Kirin. Kirin Megumi is especially refreshing because it's produced locally.

"I think Megumi is best served in summer rather than in winter. It compliments dishes that are sour and a bit spicy. The dry climate in Australia certainly helps too. I can't get enough of that refreshing sensation I feel when it goes down my throat. I can easily drink three bottles at a time. Spiciness being the specialty of Pan Asian, Kirin Megumi is a great match in general."

The Pan Asian cuisine, as its name clearly suggests, is best described as Asian-fusion, offering its customers a variety of Asian cuisines combined with one another, as one may easily notice from the dishes recommended on the Kirin Megumi menu. The most remarkable of these is the Crunchy Soft Shell Crab Sushi, which happens to be one of Kin San's personal favorites. When he served this dish to Queen Mary, her majesty enjoyed it so much that she requested seconds.

"I have a lot of fun cooking everyday, and I look forward to the next day when I start thinking about new dishes," says Kin San. The menu at Pan Asian is constantly changing because the fountain of new ideas never dries up for him. What the five recommended dishes, suggested by Kin San on this occasion specifically to set off the delightfully refreshing Kirin Megumi on a hot summer day, have in common is that all five dishes are spicy but not overly so. Kin San keeps it simple so that people can enjoy the taste of the ingredients just as Mother Nature intended.

Pan Asian
267 Chapel Street, Prahran VIC 3181
TEL: (03) 9533 7022    FAX: (03) 9533 7422
Business Hours: Tue - Sun PM5:30 till late

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