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Delicious Japanese Cuisine from Shikoku of Japan Open Sesame Restaurant

  • Category:Ex-pat Business Owners
  • PostDate:2022-05-24

Open Sesame Restaurant is an authentic Japanese restaurant located in Hualien. Restaurant owner Mr. Mizobichi Tsuyoshi bashfully recalls that the restaurant had been so named just because it was easy to remember and that the name itself had no special meaning. This year marks the restaurant’s 20th anniversary, and "Open Sesame" has become an integral part of people’s memories in Hualien.

Twenty years ago in Japan, Mizobichi first met his wife Lin Xiu-Fang, who had been born and raised in Hualien, and the couple moved to Hualien from Japan after their marriage. Mizobichi, who has always been passionate with cooking, opened "Open Sesame" in 2000. He says that business was not very good at the beginning because local residents were not used to Japanese-style set meals at that time, but his perseverance paid off, and as customers gradually learned to appreciate authentic Japanese flavors, business improved. He is also very happy to have customers from three generations of the same family.

The most famous set meal at this restaurant is Tataki, a traditional dish from Shikoku of Japan, a.k.a. "Straw-burning Roasted Bonito Sashimi". The bonito is roasted with burning straw to remove the odor, drizzled with citrus juice, and then patted with the back of the knife to enhance its flavor. The outer crust has the aroma of burnt straw while the inside retains the texture of fresh sashimi, imbuing the dish with particularly delicious flavors. It is a signature cuisine of limited supply and is freshly roasted and sold at the restaurant. Mizobichi adds that the Tataki set meal is also a specialty of Sakamoto Ryoma’s hometown. The restaurant logo of Open Sesame was designed with reference to Sakamoto's family crest.

Mizobichi really enjoys the natural scenery in Hualien as the climate is very similar to that of his hometown, Ehime County in Shikoku. The city is of moderate size and locally grown rice is also delicious. Mizobichi’s parents have also lived in Hualien for a period of time and his father especially loves to take a walk in the city, gaze at the scenery along the streets and savor the hospitality of the local people.

During holidays, Mizobichi likes to take his wife and children to Qixingtan Beach to enjoy views of the ocean and the Meilun Mountains. All his seven children are fully grown; some have gone to Japan for study and some have started to work, but whenever they come back to Hualien, they are sure to help out at the busy restaurant. Mizobichi also reveals that he particularly likes eating Taiwanese braised pork rice. After work, he often goes to the restaurant in front of the train station to enjoy a bowl of milkfish, which is very healing.

Open Sesame Restaurant

Address: 138, Bo’ai St., Hualien City, Hualien County 970, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Tel: (03)834–6659