Guam Diner Bytes: Issin Japanese Restaurant

by Ken Stewart
The Guam Food Guy

We welcomed the new year by observing a centuries old Japanese custom – eating a bowl of “ozoni,” the traditional “mocha” soup garnished with yuzu peel and mitsuba. Ozoni has the glutinous mochi rice cakes in savory “dashi” (soup stock) along with mushrooms, carrots (carved into stars), onions and chicken. The mochi gets grilled in a broiler to soften it up and to brown the outside, giving it a distinctive toasted rice taste. The bowls of Ozoni cost $9 each. I had made an earlier request to Issin’s owner, Tom Iizuka, to have this dish available for us for our New Year’s Day lunch.

Zee ordered Kitsune Soba (buckwheat noodle soup with fried tofu for $15) and I decided on Issin’s Lunch special Angus steak & shrimp teppan-yaki ($22). We sat a window overlooking a slice of Tumon’s beautiful bay where some tourists were already frolicking on the beach below. We sipped sake and marveled at the most gorgeous orchid framed by our window.

Our teppan chef, Jesse Borja, stopped by and greeted us. We munched on his crispy garlic chips and I savored the medium rare sirloin steak, dipping it into my ponzu sauce. He takes such pride in his work and you can taste it with each bite!

Bon appetit!

Ken “the Guam Food Guy” Stewart

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