7 Hidden Japanese Hawker Stalls in Singapore
There has been a growing number of Japanese establishments in Singapore recently, with Michelin-starred ramen, Tsuta, opening its doors along Orchard Road and the popping up of new Japanese food halls. We always believe that good food doesn’t necessarily mean expensive food. That being said, you can’t expect the ingredients used to be the finest, as compared to those used by ‘atas’ restaurants. So, for those who are looking for a budget-friendly eatery to satisfy your Japanese food craving, we have hunted down 7 hawker stalls that serve value-for-money Japanese food.
Unkai Japanese Cuisine
Start your hawker feast with some fresh seafood selection such as the Hotate Tobiko Yaki ($15) and Premium Fresh Oysters ($18 for 1/2 dozen). The former are grilled to perfection and topped with a layer of mayonnaise and flying fish roe. The scallops are then flame-torched for a charred finish. The latter, on the other hand, arrived freshly shucked. Each mouthful gives a burst of juices. Just squeeze a few dollops of lemon juice with hot Tabasco sauce and slurp up these goodness! Moreover, the Sake Sashimi ($6) had a good cut – right thickness that was consistent throughout the slices served. Those with heartier appetites can go for the Ten Zaru Udon ($7.50), consisting of udon and a serving of an assortment of tempura.
Unkai Japanese Cuisine
Address: #01-89, Old Airport Road Food Centre, 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily.
This stall offers yakitori skewers with charcoal-infused yakitori sauce, with a selection of chicken meatball, chicken thigh, pork belly, pork sausages, salmon belly, quail eggs and many more. Chef Teppei spent many months formulating and perfecting his own special charcoal-infused yakitori sauce set to give an intensely charcoal-flavour for yakitori lovers out there. In addition, Teppei fans can also enjoy the signature Kaisen Don ($16, sashimi rice bowl), grilled/deep-fried breaded bentos/dons and Hokkaido croquettes.
Address: 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, #01-21, Singapore 139957, JTC LaunchPad@One-North
Kazan Japanese Cuisine
What drew us to this stall was the numerous endorsements displayed right below Kazan’s signboard. Although we didn’t get to speak to the friendly owner, Mr Lim, as he was giving his line of customers his full attention, we believe this stall is tended by Mr Lim and his mother. The stall specialises in Japanese rice sets and Donburi sets. We had the Unagi set ($8) which comes with Miso soup. The unagi arrived glistening, due to its wonderfully caramelised exterior. While the skin was slightly crisp, the meat within was tender, boasting a rich, sweet flavour. It goes very well with the fragrant rice, topped with generous sprinkles of black sesame seeds.
Kazan Japanese Cuisine
Address: #02-001, Chinatown Food Complex, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm to 8.30pm. Sun 12pm to 6.30pm. Closed on Saturdays.
Buta Kin at Beauty World Food Centre offers 5 types of ramen/udon dishes and 4 different Japanese curry dishes on their menu with most items not more than $6. The most expensive item on the menu is the Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.90) which comes with 3 slices of pork belly, black fungus, half boiled egg and seaweed. Although it’s priced very reasonably, the broth lacked the richness of a good Tonkotsu soup base. While the presentation and price of the Japanese ramen is very enticing, the taste was disappointing. But, if you’re looking for a budget Japanese ramen, this should do.
Address: #04-41, Beauty World Food Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah, Singapore 588177
Mobile: 8661 6028
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11.30am to 8.30pm. Closed on Mondays.
“Hello sister! How may I help?” was the first greeting from the chirpy chef and his assistant at this stall. We sat at the table in front of the stall and noticed they have a habit of addressing their customers as brother or sister. The food offerings range from as low as $3 to $6 and we had the Teriyaki Chicken Bento set ($4.50) which comes with shredded cabbage, tempura, rice and a bowl of Miso soup. The chicken was tender, with a silky layer of skin completely drenched in teriyaki sauce. We were surprised that carrots were used instead of the usual sweet potato for tempura.
Address: #01-59, Ang Mo Kio 628 Market, 628 Ang Mo Kio Street 61, Singapore 560628
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11am to 8pm. Closed on Sundays.
Kitchen@Work serves a variety of Japanese food, ranging from Donburi (rice bowl dish), to Fried Udon; all of which are tagged with an affordable price. The Yaki Niku Don ($6) is a rice dish topped with sliced beef, shredded onions and capsicums. It was a rather impressive dish, as the ingredients were slightly torched, giving it a slightly burnt taste. Despite being located at a hawker centre, Kitchen@Work has definitely shown quality in the food that they prepare.
Address: #01-35, Ci Yuan Hawker Centre, 51 Hougang Avenue 9, Singapore 538776
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am to 9.30pm. Closed on Mondays.
With the variety of food options offered in Singapore, it’s no surprise that our country is labelled as a ‘foodie’s paradise’. Hawker stalls have also taken on a more modern image, with these Japanese offerings. We’re happy to see different establishments and new, young start-ups opening up at hawker centres yet, we hope that the older generation will still continue serving up delicious and traditional local fare.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visits and paid its own meals at the stalls featured here.
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