Penangites will be happy to hear that a brand new franchise has landed at their shores and it is a rare first for the state in Southeast Asia, as shops tend to open up in our capital before heading here. Mr. Kanso is a new eating spot that just opened up in July at Gurney Walk which seems to be the new hotspot for cafes and restaurants in town.

When we first heard about it we were sceptical. Canned food? Seriously? We imagined our food being served in a cylinder shape with a heaping of rice on the side. However, the result is different than what you’d think and this concept is nothing new in Japan as Mr. Kanso has been around since 2002 and has over 40 stores nationwide as the nation’s largest canned food store.

can food at mr kanso in penang

Instead of a physical menu or pesky QR code menu that seem to be the norm nowadays, customers can head over to the colourful wall of cans on display and ‘shop’ for their dishes with a shopping basket. You don’t have to worry about being bored with the menu here as are more than 100 types of cans to choose from, all imported directly from Japan and made without preservatives.

Choices vary according to stock availability based on shipments from Japan and ranges from familiar tastes to exotic ones. According to the owner, most choices here are rare and can’t even be found at typical supermarkets in the East Asian countries as the cans are carefully sourced from different areas of Japan. Customers can choose to dine in or take their selections home.

The wall of cans includes everything from appetizers to mains and dessert with a choice of seafood, meats, chicken, vegetables, and more. Less adventurous folk can try out fare such as the ‘Inaba butter chicken curry’, ‘K&K Bacon in Honey Mustard’, and ‘Hokkaido Scallops with Lemon Butter Flavour’.

Meanwhile, those who are game for anything can have a taste of ‘Yakiniku-style Horse Meat’ from the Kumamoto prefecture that is said to have a refreshing taste. There are even sea urchins, venison, and bee larvae, highly nutritional delicacy enjoyed in the Shinshū that apparently has a creamy and rich taste like miso.

food served at mr kanso

When our food arrived, we wouldn’t have known that it came from a can without prior knowledge as it was properly plated with shredded spring onions. For starters, we dug into the tamagoyaki, a Kyoto-style omelette rolls which has sold over one million cans. The fluffy egg dish priced at RM23 tasted slightly sour rather than the usual sweet taste that we are accustomed to but was tasty nonetheless.

Call us boring but for our main course, we opted for the ‘Gyu-Shigureni’, Japanese Miyazaki beef which was RM39. The shredded beef was flavourful yet tender and came with bits of ginger. We’d recommend opting for white rice from their side menu made fresh with this as some might find the taste of beef to be a bit strong. Their side menu also includes ‘bahnmi’ bread and kimchi that are priced from RM3 to RM10.

We also went for the Monkfish Liver priced at RM32, which is seasoned with salt and prepared using a traditional boiling method. While this dish wasn’t really to this writer’s taste with a peasant’s palate that isn’t accustomed to such delicacies, those who enjoy the French dish can go for this as it is widely known as the ‘foie gras of the sea.’ Rather than eating it on its own, order up a side of well marinated kimchi.

egg caramel custard mr kanso penang

This writer is obsessed with egg caramel custards which are famous in Ipoh and their ‘Imuraya Custard Pudding’ is the next best thing. However, we found it slightly pricey as it was priced at RM14 and the can was rather small. Haiyo, what to do, it’s imported from Japan and our ringgit is so low nowadays *sigh*.

sake at mr kanso penang

Mr. Kanso also has an extensive beverage menu including a choice of Japanese alcohol which of course includes various types of sake. We chose the ‘free your soul’ tea of roses ,lily bulbs and jasmine green tea leaves that came in a capsule and was refillable.

There are also more premium items such as Canned Okayama Shimizu White Peaches at RM90 which are famed for their juicy taste in Japan. Another item we saw that stunned us with the price was the Yoshinoya Rice Set which retails for RM290. You might want to keep this at home in case another lockdown comes around as the emergency canned rice can be taken 3 years after production.

The restaurant has indoor seating options as well as an alfresco seating area with partial views of Gurney Drive. We recommend making reservations as spaces are limited and the place gets crowded on weekends. Their cans are also sold online through their website.

Address: Mr. Kanso, Ground Floor, Gurney Walk 10250 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Contact: 012-599 1212