TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
Treating Japanese cuisine as a type of art, while exploring the variety of ingredients, Chef Chuan Cheng Tsai (Chef Cheng) gradually developed his personal cooking style along the way. Focusing on the essence of aged food, he is able to take the flavors to the next level, allowing customers to fully experience the different layers of umami. As the soft and delicious taste melts in our mouths, we understand Chef Cheng’s persistence when it comes to finding the right ingredient. By using innovative approaches, Narumi Sushi takes us on an adventure to fully appreciate the beauty of tastes and flavors.
擁有多年中式、日料烹飪經驗，曾任職於天母國賓 YU 壽司、旬採鮨处與鮨割烹小粹等名店，阿成師傅對於食材選購、處理與保存，皆具備極高敏銳度。談起深入耕耘日料的契機，源自退伍三四年後，當時面臨中餐瓶頸的他，經友人引薦後，進而發覺日料擁有無限發揮空間，不間歇的試菜過程，從食材中汲取多角哲學、自五感裡融會無限可能，悄然寬闊了他看待人生的另一番光景。從不吝於分享烹飪技巧，阿成師傅推出的料理書籍不勝枚舉，他也透露做菜最大的樂趣在於「不斷嘗試」，即使會面臨挫敗，過程中所獲得的種種皆是靈感積累，使人驚豔的翻新口感便於此誕生。
Philosophy of Diversity
Having worked at several famous restaurants including Yu Sushi, Shun Sai Japanese Cuisine, Siao Tsuei and more, Chef Cheng acquired a high sensitivity for the selection, processing and preservation of ingredients. When asked about the moment he decided to enter the realm of Japanese cuisine, Chef Cheng said it was around three years after his military discharge. At that time, he found himself in a quandary, limited by the boundaries of Chinese cuisine. After his friend’s recommendation, Chef Cheng started exploring Japanese cookery and realized its unlimited potential. Through trials after trials, he understands the diversity of culinary techniques and the infinite possibilities brought by our senses. Never hesitant about sharing his cooking tips, Chef Cheng has published multiple cookbooks and recipes. To him, the greatest joy about cooking lies in “never stop trying.” Even in the face of setbacks, all the things he gained during the process becomes a source of inspiration that helps him create dishes with innovative approaches and surprising flavors.
A Customized Experience
Narumi Sushi’s dark, calm exterior poses an interesting contrast to its interior. Stripped of the pressure of dining at high-end restaurants, the light-colored dining area creates a comfortable ambiance that reminds one of home—one of Chef Cheng’s greatest hopes when he decided to open his own restaurant. Besides creating a pleasant dining area, he also pays great attention to presenting a customized experience for his customers. Through each menu discussion, he carefully documents the feedback he receives and makes adjustments in order to bring something new to each meal, a perfect demonstration of his exceptional diligence. For example, considering recent weather change, Chef Cheng decides to combine cod puree, cod milt and pufferfish milt into his soup dish. Topped with black truffle for better aroma and visual presentation, the bowl of warm soup soothes the soul, a pleasant satisfaction to the appetite of gourmets in this cold, wet weather.
Welcoming, easy-going and generous—these are the impressions Chef Cheng has left on old and new customers. As for how he would describe himself, he chooses “high-standard” as his answer, a testament of his persistence when it comes to creating the perfect dining environment. In response to the pandemic, ionizer air purifiers have been installed at the restaurant entrance and preparation area to achieve instant sterilization and deodorization, allowing diners to enjoy the food in a safe space. As an itamae, Chef Cheng believes the constant acquiring of new knowledge is the key to improvement. Only by learning with an open mind and absolute humility can one flexibly use the ingredients to create the most original dishes. Like taking his guests on a fun adventure to explore the realm of umami flavors, Chef Cheng never forgets the reason he started everything and continues on this journey with determination and persistence.