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Inside Scoop: Sushiro

What does McDonald’s and gyudon have in common? Read on as Sushiro’s executive chef Philip Christopher Miu talks Japanese comfort food, and more.

This week, executive chef Philip Christopher Miu of Sushiro talks Japanese comfort food and the importance of cooking from the heart.

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Photo by Burppler Casey Tan

Hi Chef Philip! Congratulations to Sushiro for being on Burpple’s Hot 100 2018 list! Tell us more about yourself — what sparked your interest in cooking, and where did you hone your skills?
Cooking has always been a passion for me. There’s a lot more to the dish than the end product. Learning about the origins of the dish; understanding the preparation — all these allows you to experiment with different flavours and cooking methods to get alternate outcomes, despite using the same protein. It’s been an honor to be working alongside Head Chef Toshiharu Nagae (Nagae-san). He has a wealth of experience in this field through his training in Japan, and is one of the pioneers in bringing Japanese cuisine to Singapore in its early days at Nassim Hill. His guidance has elevated my techniques and has given me an understanding of traditional method of craft, which I can combine with my knowledge of fusion cuisine.  

Who and/or what are your cooking inspirations?
Nagae-san. He’s taught me many Japanese virtues that we follow today at Sushiro, and it goes way beyond just the product itself. One of the lessons I always bear in mind is the phrase “Magokoro” (まごころ), which means “True Heart”. This translates to the sincerity you have in doing your best for the work you’ve chosen. For guests who’ve had the opportunity to meet him at our sushi counter, he’s always calm and collected. You just know you’ll be in good hands.

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Photo by Burppler Xing Wei Chua

If you had to pick one dish on the menu that best captures the essence of Sushiro, which would it be?
It would be our newest addition, Sanshoku Chirashi Don. Our original Bara-Chirashi Don was a surprising success for us, but we felt that we had to evolve while still giving guests something similar to the well-loved chirashi don. Singaporeans love their spice but too much of it makes it “jelak”, so we thought adding a few pieces of salmon sashimi would add a nice flavour to the bowl especially when you eat it with our house blended shoyu and fresh wasabi, giving the bowl three flavours of sweet, salty and spicy.  

Despite its unassuming size and simplicity, it actually takes collective effort from the different stations in the kitchen to execute it. I would like to believe that Sushiro has a unique point of view when it comes to food. Sushiro is a young and vibrant place, where we don’t follow too many “food rules”, and are always looking for new ways to prepare our dishes with a fusion/modern twist despite our traditional background. We are also invested in understanding what customers enjoy in their dining experience, and we experiment on how to bring it to them in a well-balanced manner. We have daily specials that provide guests with a new experience with every return visit.

Our Burpple community can’t stop raving about the Bara Chirashi Don. What’s your secret to making it so fresh and tasty, yet affordable?
You guys! The unwavering support from the community has really given us leverage to procure the freshest seafood in larger volumes, which keeps costs down. We get our fish shipped in from various parts of the world with our deliveries occurring twice a day — this allows us to serve the freshest food to our guests at every lunch and dinner service. Due to climate and seasonal change, some fish may vary in texture but we do our utmost best to curate the selection that we serve.

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Apart from the Bara Chirashi Don, is there one other dish on the menu that is a must try?
Our alternate signature, Tokyo Gyuniku Don. In Japan, McDonald’s isn’t so popular and gyudon (beef rice bowl) could almost be seen as the replacement. You can see how packed Yoshinoya, Matsuya and Sukiya are in Tokyo, even at 11pm at night! We view gyudon as comfort food, almost like food for the soul. It takes skill from the chef to execute a perfect bowl of gyudon in its right balance. The simpler the dish, the harder the execution! We only have limited quantities daily, so if ever you get a chance, I’d definitely recommend this.

Describe your ideal sushi experience in 10 words, or less.
As a chef myself, knowing that the food is made from the heart is all that matters. So I’d have to say that the ideal experience would be: “Sushi that is made from the heart”.

What’s always in your fridge?
Coffee.  

What’s your favourite comfort food?
Rice. It’s the core staple and balance to any accompanying dish.

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What’s next for you, as well as for Sushiro?
I know of this phrase: we are too concerned about what was and what will be. There’s a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. So for me, everyday is a different adventure and it brings new experiences. I’m optimistic for the future and all the new opportunities and projects we’ve been presented with, but for now, our flagship store at Thomson is my only priority.


Check out what the community says about Sushiro here!