View Full Version : Japanese Restaurants near BTS Thong Lor

Kanok Karn
5th November 2010, 09:22

You never forget your first taste of sperm. In Japanese, the word is shirako, which translates as “white children” or “albino.” You might also hear it described as, a bit more appetizingly, white pillows or fluffy clouds. To be honest, if it weren’t for the steady stream of sake and peer pressure from people we understand to be our friends, we probably would not have ordered the cod sperm sacs (tara shirako ponzu) from the specials menu at Hanako on a recent night. But we did and can now say we have tried it and enjoyed it but won’t be all that sad if we never have it again. Like shark fin, shirako is more about texture—and novelty (like fugu)—than taste. Ours was fresh, not at all fishy, creamy and much lighter than it looked. (At first glance the sacs looked like some kind of fungus. Or mayonnaise squirted out of a plastic bottle. Or maybe something a sick alien would cough up.) As for the taste, most of the flavor came from the tangy ponzu sauce it was served with. The sperm was by no means the focus of our late-night supper, of course. (Hanako is open until midnight.) In fact the main reason we like this months-old restaurant with adjoining karaoke bar so much, next to the cool ambience (dark, multi-leveled interior) and flirtatious service, is that we can pop in for a snack, or a luxurious meal, at 9 or 10pm. In addition to table seating, Hanako also has a teppanyaki bar and some nifty private tatami rooms that we’re planning to try out on future visits. The food is pretty good, too. We began with hamaguri sakamushi, tender large clams “steamed” in a sake broth, which was a nice accompaniment to the Tanrei Jyunmai sake. To satisfy our inner child, we also had a current fave, the hearty, homestyle nasu denkagu, a slice of broiled eggplant topped with two kinds “denkagu” (a sweet and sticky miso-based) sauce. The “meat” of the meal was a platter of mixed sashimi—it was a special occasion so we sprung for the mori awase “yuki”, a posh assortment of seven kinds of raw fish (three pieces of each) including scallop, surf clam and toro (fatty tuna). We were not so impressed with the fried food at Hanako: Both the breaded Hiroshima oysters and the ebi (prawn) tempura were good enough but not great. Though perhaps they were disappointing only because they weren’t up to the same level as the other dishes, the service and the atmosphere.

Kubpo Hanako
113/1 Thong Lor Soi 13
Nearest train: BTS Thong Lo
Phone: 02-712-6371/-2
Daily 5pm-midnight