14 Nihon-thentic Dishes in Japan Food Halls that Transport You to Japan
Over the years, the number of Japan food halls in Singapore has grown significantly, with Wisma Atria’s Japan Food Town and Nihon Street @ Millenia Walk as the newest additions to the family. We’ve paid a visit to some of these Japanese foodie heavens to bring you the inside scoop of what’s oishii.
Eat At Seven @ Suntec City
Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining
Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining is regarded as one of the most renowned maguro (tuna) and sashimi wholesalers in Japan. To ensure absolute freshness, the restaurant employs a state-of the-art transport and freezing method, where the tuna is frozen at -60°C, the optimal temperature for preserving its freshness. Try the signature dishes including Three Cuts of Hon Maguro Sashimi ($39) served on crushed ice which consists of Otoro (Belly), Chutoro (Bottom Loin) and Akami (Top Loin). The slices are massive and the akami is the best I have tasted so far. The otoro is creamy and doesn’t have any metallic taste. If you would like a bigger variety, go for Five Cuts Hon Maguro Sashimi ($49) which features five parts of Blue Fin Maguro —Akami (Top Loin); Chutoro (Bottom Loin); Otoro (Belly); Kamatoro (Cheek); and Mekajiki (Swordfish). Sushi fans can go for Five Cut of Hon Maguro Nigiri Sushi ($35).
ENBU’s calling card is grilling with straws and charcoal grill, which lend a wonderful smoky fragrance to its wide array of fresh and exquisite cuisines. WARAYAKI Chicken has got the smoky fragrance in the meat while keeping the meat juices intact. Pairing with their spring onion sauce, it was a mix of spicy, savoury and sweetness, very similar to Ssamjang that was served in Korean BBQ restaurants. Jilase Tsukune is essentially chicken meatball with onsen egg.
Nihon Street @ Millenia Walk
Saboten’s menu offers a wide variety of dishes with various cuts of meat and seafood but we tried the Saboten Special Gozen ($26), which features a mix of their popular items: Loin Katsu, Tenderloin Katsu, Fried Shrimp and Crab Cream Croquette. The dishes were pretty tasty, but they were outshined by the loin, which was succulent, tender and coated with a well-seasoned crispy batter. A special shoutout to the sweet Tonkatsu sauce which is a wonderful combination with the katsu, more so than the tangy tartar sauce. If you feel overwhelmed by the plethora of items on the menu, we’d think you should just head straight for the loin. P/S: sip on some free-flow green tea on the house!
Sapporo Ramen Miharu
Authentic Sapporo Ramen is not exactly common in Singapore but as its name clearly suggests, this is where you can find authentic tasting Sapporo ramen in a traditionally themed shop. The waitress suggested having one of the popular choices, Komi Tsukemen ($14.50) which is a traditional dipping noodle. The cold noodle was chewy which we enjoyed, but some might find it a tad too hard. While the soy sauce based dipping broth went along well with the noodles, it was actually very salty on its own and chugging it down like you would with regular ramen broth is not recommended. In our opinion, maybe Sapporo Ramen Miharu has seen a better past with their regular ramen bowls.
Captivated by their signature dish, Wagyu Round Roast Beef Set ($19.90), which features an elegant stack of beef asserting its mightiness over a bed of fluffy rice, we were motivated to hunt this restaurant down. The beef did not disappoint as it was well-seasoned and tender. My dining partner loved how the beef was served but personally, I would’ve appreciated a little more cook on it. This casual restaurant is a great place for a hangout with your loved ones, with both indoor and outdoor seats available.
Japan Food Town @ Wisma Atria
How many legitimate udon specialty restaurants in Singapore can you recall off the top of your head? I believe, not many? Well, I’m so glad that we can finally add another outstanding one to the list! Delivering one of Japan’s best udon noodles, Inaniwa Yosuke’s Tempura & Seiro Gomatare ($25) certainly wowed us. Delicate udon strands dipped in their unique sesame Goma sauce– definitely one of the most refreshing chilled udon dishes we’ve tasted. Inaniwa’s assorted tempura was crispy and is definitely on the light side. Similarly, their tempura sauce was light as well, but if you prefer something stronger like us, sprinkle a pinch of their salty Matcha powder and you’re good to go. Even a rare treat in Japan itself, nothing’s holding you back from enjoying this on our very own shores. P/S: enjoy a 20% off counter seats on weekdays!
If you haven’t paid a visit to Sabar, you’re totally missing out on some darn good stuff. Their Half Mega Toro-Saba ($20) consists of a top quality mackerel freshly grilled to perfection upon order. While waiting for our food, the quirky designs surrounding the number 38 (Saba sounds like 38 in Manadarin.) on the walls in the bar caught our attention. You know they aren’t playing around with their fishes when you receive an utterly moist and flavourful whole Saba with a perfectly crisp skin, unlike any of those you’ve tried. Plus, opt for the counter seats and watch the lovely Japanese chef prepare your meal right before you. Bonus: receive a 20% discount for all weekdays, and until 3pm for Friday.
Bonta Bonta lies right along the entrance of Wisma’s Japan Food Town but ironically, it seemed to go quite unnoticed when we visited. Perhaps it is because of the high prices which people tend to associate with Bonta Bonta’s main offerings of Unagi, Sushi and Chirashi Dons. Don’t be deceived though, as this quaint eatery serves good tasting dishes at affordable prices; free Dashi stock is even served and it goes perfectly well on its own or with the mains you order. Try the Unagi Kabayaki Don (half for $15, whole for $28), which boasts a generous piece of freshwater eel served atop Kinme rice – sweetier and tastier Japanese rice packed with health benefits! Soft bones were relatively non-existent and the succulent piece of eel was glossed with a rich, thick sauce that had a hint of spice to it. No discounts for this, but the delicious food and friendly staff make it all worth it!
Shokutsu 10 @ NEX
Kabe No Ana
Despite being located at the Japanese food street of NEX, Kabe No Ana serves up plates of Italian food, injected with a taste of Japan. Among all their popular pasta dishes, we ordered a portion of Ebi Asari Creamy Tomato ($15.90) that includes tagliatelle pasta intertwined with fresh prawns and clams soused in a creamy tomato sauce. The pasta and toppings were fairly delicious, but the “one-dimentional” sweet sauce lacked some depth. Perhaps other crowd pleasers such as their Mentaiko pasta will be a better choice.
Yaki Yaki Bo
Who doesn’t love experiencing a live show of your chef preparing your meal right before your eyes? If you’re torn between the choice of meats and seafood, the Beef and Seafood Teppanyaki Set ($29.90) offers the best of both worlds. The beef cubes were juicy and tender, but unfortunately, the seafood did not do enough to impress. In addition, we particularly enjoyed the strong garlic seasoning on the proteins although we were quite shocked that the stall failed to keep the experience authentic by using Japanese short-grain rice. For that price tag, it seems you’re actually paying more for the live show than the food itself.
Emporium Shokuhin @ Marina Square
Burosu Honten Gyoza & Ramen
My favourite restaurant in Emporium Shokuhin is Burosu Honten Gyoza & Ramen. Translating to “broth shop”, you can customise your ramen by choosing the doneness of the ramen noodles, spiciness level and strength of broth. They have individual booths where the waitress will serve through a screen from the kitchen. We went for the Special Ultimate Blend Ramen ($18.80) using a solid soup base rendered by simmering shrimp, lobster and crab shells for at least 11 hours. Die die must try is the homemade Seafood Gyoza ($7.80) made with delectable seafood fillings in soft gyoza wrap. Each dumpling is so moist and succulent. Dip it with Japanese la yu (chilli oil) and vinegar to complement your meal.
Senmi Sushi Bar
This seafood heaven on our island sources their seafood directly from Japan’s wholesale seafood markets; if that doesn’t draw your attention, then I don’t know what else will. Putting their must-try sashimi aside, you can enjoy a unique experience of customizing your own perfect Chirashi Dons (starting from $15) that will let you include all your top favourites. Just look at that colour play of salmon, tamago and cucumbers, creating a gorgeous view that you just wish to remember forever! Feel free to sit at the sushi counter or booth seats, and prepare your tummies for the amazing ride.
Japan Foods Garden
Gyu Tetsu Tokyo Teppanyaki
Part of Food Republic at the basement of Shaw House has been redeveloped to include five new Japanese concepts, all of which aim to provide quality Japanese cuisine at pocket-friendly prices. If you like Teppanyaki like me, try the US Angus Beef Lemon Steak ($18.80) from Gyu Tetsu Teppanyaki. The perks of eating Teppanyaki is, you get to watch the chef in action and enjoy freshly cooked dishes! The thinly sliced beef is cooked on the Teppanyaki hotplate before putting it in the flat iron and drizzling with their homemade citrus sauce to cut the oiliness from the meat.
We are definitely in love with the hearty Tendon ($11.80). Deep fried till perfection, you get eight crispy tempura with a bowl of Japanese rice and a delicious sauce. The taste isn’t as strong as it looks, but rather light and easy on the stomach. The star in the food court is the beautiful box of Unagi Seiro Mushi ($28.80). The steamed Japanese rice is nicely stacked with sliced teriyaki eel that gives a sweet hint to the meal.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stalls featured here.
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