Inspiration Is Everywhere: An Interview With Bushido’s Chef Goh Boon Wah


Nestled within the heart of the vibrant Seef Area, Bushido by Buddha-Bar is where tradition meets innovation. Guided by the deft hands of Chef Goh Boon Wah who brings a wealth of experience and a deep reverence for Japanese culinary arts to the table, Bushido is loved by diners in Bahrain for a dining experience that is both authentic and refreshingly modern. Whether drawing inspiration from the bustling local farmer’s markets or the vast tapestry of global cuisines, we explore the mind of this culinary maestro, exploring the inspirations behind his unique dishes, his innovative fusions, and the delectable lineup that’s yet to come at Bushido.

Voted as one of Bahrain’s 41 Best Restaurants, Bushido by Buddha-Bar blends traditional Japanese cuisine with modern flair. With impeccable service and an inviting ambience, Bushido offers a memorable dining experience for both intimate dinners and vibrant gatherings.

Where do you seek inspiration from while coming up with ideas in the kitchen?

I seek inspiration from a variety of sources. The Cuisine Exploration approach allows me to try out different cuisines from around the world which ultimately sparks creativity. Experimenting with flavours, spices, and cooking methods from diverse cultures can lead to exciting new dishes.

Visiting farmer’s markets or simply being aware of seasonal ingredients can inspire dishes. Fresh, seasonal produce often provides the basis for creative recipes.

Ultimately, inspiration can come from anywhere—it’s about being open to new experiences, flavours, and ideas, and allowing your creativity to flourish in the kitchen.

How do you balance traditional Japanese techniques with modern culinary trends in your dishes?

Balancing traditional Japanese techniques with modern culinary trends involves a thoughtful approach that respects the essence of Japanese cuisine while incorporating contemporary elements.

At the core, it’s important to foster a respect for tradition. Build a solid understanding of traditional Japanese cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavour profiles. Respect for these fundamentals is essential when incorporating modern elements.

Explore fusion cuisine by combining traditional Japanese flavours with elements from other culinary traditions. For instance, you could infuse Japanese dishes with hints of Mediterranean or Latin American flavours.

Consider the cultural context behind traditional Japanese dishes and techniques and adapt them thoughtfully to fit modern dining preferences and lifestyles.

By blending traditional Japanese techniques with modern culinary trends thoughtfully and respectfully, you can create dishes that honour the rich heritage of Japanese cuisine while appealing to contemporary tastes.

Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming dining experiences that guests can look forward to at Bushido?

At Bushido, we’re always striving to create memorable dining experiences that combine tradition with innovation. Get ready for an electrifying revelation set to shake up Seef Area as Bushido Restaurant unveils a series of thrilling surprises in the coming months!

What’s the one ingredient you wouldn’t let go from your kitchen?

Dashi is a fundamental ingredient in Japanese cuisine, serving as the base for many dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and simmered dishes. It’s a simple broth made from kombu (dried kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), which impart a rich umami flavour to dishes.

It provides depth and complexity to Japanese dishes, enhancing the natural flavours of ingredients without overpowering them. It’s essential for making classic dishes like miso soup, noodle broths, and sauces like ponzu and teriyaki. Additionally, dashi can be used to add subtle umami notes to non-Japanese dishes, making it a versatile ingredient for Pan-Asian cuisine as well.

With its ability to elevate the taste of a wide range of dishes, dashi is truly indispensable in a Pan-Asian and Japanese kitchen.

What are your all-time favourite Japanese dishes and why?

Choosing just a few favourite Japanese dishes is tough because there are so many delicious options! However, here are a few that I particularly enjoy and why:

Gyoza, or Japanese dumplings, are addictive little parcels of goodness. I enjoy both the crispy texture of the pan-fried bottoms and the juicy, flavorful filling inside. They’re great as a snack, appetizer, or even a main course, and I love dipping them in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.

Okonomiyaki, often described as a Japanese savoury pancake or pizza, is a fun and customizable dish that I always enjoy. I love the combination of the tender, cabbage-filled batter with savoury toppings like shrimp or squid, all smothered in a tangy-sweet sauce and mayo.

Ramen is the ultimate comfort food for me. The rich, flavorful broth, chewy noodles, and assortment of toppings make it a satisfying and soul-warming dish, especially on a cold day. Plus, there are so many regional variations to explore, each with its own unique character.These are just a few examples of the many incredible Japanese dishes out there, each with its own unique flavours, textures, and cultural significance. Exploring Japanese cuisine is always a delightful adventure!

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