Dashi Master Marusaya – Only Premium And All-Natural Ingredients Are Used In This Shabu Shabu!
Futagami Hideaki, the founder of Marusaya, first opened the restaurant in Singapore three years ago. Hideaki’s family specialises in producing top-quality katsuobushi, also known as dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna. Katsuobushi is probably more familiar to us as bonito flakes! With a ready supply of top grade katsuobushi, this makes it easy for Marusaya to get into the business of making their own dashi stock for shabu shabu.
The A4 Wagyu Beef at Dashi Master Marusaya hails from Kumamoto (ala carte: $80/pax, course: $95/pax) was highly recommended. Kumamoto is the only region in the Japanese peninsular where cows graze in open pastures instead of being cooped up in enclosures.
Preparation of the soup base is no easy feat! Marusaya prides itself on using only the best and freshest ingredients imported from Japan. For instance, kombu is specially acquired from the freezing waters of Rishiri, Hokkaido, for use in the all-natural dashi soup. The extreme temperatures in Rishiri makes it perfect for high quality kombu to propagate. After the kombu has been boiled for some time, the seaweed is taken out and freshly shaved bonito flakes from a two-year-old aged dried katsuobushi are immersed into the dashi stock. What happens to the kombu you might ask? Well, it makes a reappearance later as a marinated appetiser.
A platter of four different sauces was brought out to us — ponzu, goma sauce, spring onions and ground radish with chili powder, fried leek and yuzu sauce. The ponzu, and goma sauce, complemented the lighter-tasting vegetables while the zesty yuzu sauce cut through the richness of the meat slices. Nevertheless, the pairing of the sauce and ingredients is entirely up to you!
Next comes a variety of vegetables and tofu for the shabu shabu. In particular, watercress is added to make the dashi broth more flavourful. At Dashi Master Marusaya, they offer thick and chewy handmade udon in the shabu shabu set. But I came to Marusaya for their premium Wagyu beef, so I dove straight into it! The thinly-sliced Kumamoto beef need not be submerged for long — ten to fifteen seconds should do the trick. Pop the freshly cooked beef into your mouth and be prepared to go “Oh. My. Goodness”! The tender Kumamoto beef was absolutely sublime! It was creamy, and just melted in my mouth. The meat-to-fat ratio was perfect. The beef wasn’t too fatty, so it doesn’t get jelak, but it’s also not too lean so you can taste the richness of the beef. Besides the amazing Wagyu beef, the superior dashi stock was also noteworthy. The broth here was jam-packed with umami, and the chef really allows the natural, full-bodied flavour of the dashi to take centre stage without any extra additives or enhancements.
We also had two of Marusaya’s more popular dishes — the Premium Dashi Katsu Toji ($26) and Agu Pork Saiko Yaki ($28). The former features a deep-fried Japanese chicken cutlet with egg in a Japanese broth. Unlike most fried cutlets that tend to get a little dry, Marusaya has gotten the right balance of tenderness and juiciness in their katsu toji. I preferred the latter though, as the beautifully grilled slices of Agu pork, which had a slight char, were just so fragrant! While the Agu pig from Okinawa might be small in size, the taste of its meat was certainly not “small”! The Agu pork slices are marinated in Saikyo miso and Hakkaisan sake lees for 4 to 5 days so that the natural umami of the pork emerges.
Marusaya left me in a state of complete and utter bliss, yet tinged with a tad of regret — I should have taken more of that glorious Kumamoto beef! Nowadays, many hot pot places tend to add unnecessary seasoning into their soup broth, trading the natural sweetness of wholesome ingredients for an enhanced, artificial taste. I fully support how Marusaya still practices the good old-fashioned method of letting fresh, top-notch ingredients shine in their hot pot shabu shabu. Oishii indeed!
Dashi Master Marusaya
Address: #01-01, Robertson Blue, 86 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238216
Opening Hours: 12pm to 245pm. 5pm to 12am daily. Last order at 1115pm
Note: This is an invited tasting.
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