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Japanese Oishii!

Japanese Oishii!

Ranging from the "yay-it's-payday" to the "can-indulge-on-a-budget" cost brackets, here are Japanese dishes I've tried and liked.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

This popular larger-than-life Japanese Chef has teamed up with OUE Restaurants for his latest venture - @hashidaprivatedining. Temporarily located at Social Kitchen at OUE Downtown, Chef @topdoghatch and his team (@yujisato77 @atsushi_k_rocky) are rumoured to be moving to Amoy Street sometime later this year or early next.
Clearly relishing his freedom and opportunity to create, Chef Hatch is on an inspired rampage, even managing to change up his Menus fortnightly. No surprise given how he struck me as an irrepressible bundle of ideas when I visited last Friday with my friend.
Our sumptuous meal kicked off with two very tasty snacks: a ball of Sawara (Japanese mackerel) with burdock root and chrysanthemum, and a skewer of crunchy-fried Maitake mushroom and Japanese yam.
The Australian truffle-finished Chawanmushi which followed, had chestnuts which gave it a delightful sweetness, and water chestnuts for crunch.
Next, the Mackerel “Head To Tail” which enthralled to no end. While its flesh was pressed with rice into a roll, Chef told us that he used the mackerel head and bones for the broth.
The Sashimi course may have looked stunning with colourful fall foliage but I had eyes only for the sexy Chutoro and Shima Aji.
Then came an Abalone dish which included squid and steamed uni. The luscious sauce of cashew nut miso, seaweed and butter, combined tastily with the grated raw cashew nuts. We were instructed by Chef to give everything a vigorous mix before tucking in.
A bowl of melt-in-the-mouth beef arrived at this point. The two ponzus, a soy sauce version and a white soy jelly, provided a welcome cut-through for the meat.
Prior to the parade of Sushi, we sipped on an excellent Essence of Abalone.
The raw seafood followed, and all of it impressed the hell out of us. Chef formed them individually, very sensuously I might add, and presented in this order - Snapper, Kanpachi, Botan Ebi with Blue Roe (this was truly wow), Kinmedai Aburi, Hokigai or Surf Clam Aburi (it’s intensely umami-sweet), Nodoguro (am always thrilled to enjoy this oily fish), a mesmerising Zuke with hot Shari and finally, Japanese Barracuda Aburi.
On a separate note: I was thoroughly charmed by Chef Hatch’s sharing that each fish is linked to a memory of his childhood. For eg. as a young child living in Tsukiji, Tokyo, he and his father would hold speed-eating contests whenever he returned from school. The dried form of the Japanese Barracuda was the fish they would race to finish.
Circling back to the meal itself, we were then served a mini Uni and Ikura Don before @atsushi_k_rocky brought us Prawn Miso Soup with a prawn and chilli powder to warm our bellies.
I thought we’d reached the end of dinner but Chef had other ideas, presenting us with a Grilled Kani (crab) Hand-roll, and his signature multi-draped style of Fatty Tuna Sushi. Both were outrageously delicious.
By looking to the past, centuries in fact, the dessert platter came across, quite ironically, as original, not to mention, utterly scrumptious. There was a Japanese Sweet Potato Mochi that pleasantly shocked with the aromatic heat from tomato pepper, a purple blob of Uiro (traditional sweet from the Kanagawa Prefecture) and delicate wedges of steamed sponge cake with cheese sauce that had a touch of salt.

Do take note that this place requires reservation to be made well in advance to avoid disappointment.

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G I F T
Due to COVID, certain businesses have had to pivot to pursuing something completely different. @suguruhomedining was born from that situation. @hengdesmond and his staff who were previously in Human Resource, have switched to preparing and delivering Japanese meals featuring premium ingredients from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market.
Last Saturday, he kindly arranged for my family and I to try his offerings by sending over lunch. Such decadence it turned out to be!
The meal comprised of four sets of Somen lavished in truffle oil (each had generous double twirls of the silky-soft Japanese noodles) covered with fresh Bafun Uni (sea urchin) and large raw Hotate (scallops). A single portion is priced at $48 but it‘s worth it as I found the seafood plentiful and the serving, truly substantial.

Orders can be placed through WhatsApp:
8893 0902.

But please remember to do it at least one day in advance.

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M E D I A D R O P
Just when I was feeling like having soup noodles (blame it on the rainy weather), IPPUDO’s brand new D.I.Y. Meal Kit got teleported to me (ok, it actually arrived the conventional way 😆). Didn’t waste any time preparing both the Hakata-style Shiromaru Motoaji ($15.30 a pack) and Akamaru Shinaji ($16.35 a pack) Ramen for lunch.
Definitely not to be mistaken as instant noodles, these have the signature creamy-rich, full-bodied tonkotsu broth arriving in frozen form. After following the clear, simple instructions to simmer it for about 15 minutes, the concentrated block, the result of an 18-hour cooking process prior, became exactly like the broth one would taste if dining at an Ippudo restaurant. When the lusciously smooth umami pork-based liquid met the al dente ramen (these noodles are meant to be cooked for only 30secs in boiling water), the combination went beyond my expectations. It was enhanced by the slices of pork belly chashu and marinated black fungus that were also packed in the D.I.Y. Meal Kit.
I might try my hand next time at making Onsen Tamago eggs and chopping spring onions to pimp up the ramen and take it to another level. But for today, it already qualified as a happy meal.

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As immaculately prepared as I expect of @taro.chef’s food, his #GuerillaBento this week was infinitely more WOW than I could imagine, especially since it cost only $38! The #Barachirashi Takayama-style boasted much bigger-than-normal cuts of fish, scallop and seafood and they were all superb in quality and taste. There was a freshly-baked mini Burnt Matcha Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce for dessert as well. You bet I was wreathed in smiles as I ravished my set meal.

For the benefit of those who DM-ed me, Chef Taro’s “Guerilla Bento” is available only on Saturdays and it changes every time. He prepares only 20 sets, and you never know what is going to be in there until he shares a snippet of what’s coming in his Instagram Stories, sometime in the middle of the week. These meals are inspired by moments in his life, such as a favourite childhood dish or something he recalls enjoying at a point in his travels. Therefore, his Guerilla Bentos are really quite special because of that emotional connection you’ll have to him.

To book one for yourself, please follow @taro.chef on Instagram since ordering is only via DM to him (not @sgtakayama restaurant).

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G I F T E D
Presented in Japan-made boxes with a lacquer finish, the food in Kappo Shunsui’s NEW Takeaway menu offers a selection of the season’s best, prepared in different ways to keep your palate excited.
Shown above is the Seasonal Kaiseki Bento ($150) I had recently, the six compartments were filled with the following delectable bites:

1. Sashimi: Chutoro, Kinmedai, Uni, Ikura.
2. Grilled: Silver Cod with Ginger Flower
3. Simmered: Round Eggplant, Abalone and Yam Potato in Crab Meat Sauce.
4. Meat: Melt-in-the-mouth A5 Omi Wagyu Sirloin.
5. Rice Dish: Nodoguro with Japanese Pepper and Red Turnip.
6. Deepfried: Japanese Sweet Corn, Asparagus, Golden Eye Snapper Rolled with Uni.

Accompanying it was a bowl of intense Miso Soup concocted with Japanese Pepper, Steamed Miller Wheat Gluten, Nameko Mushrooms and Mitsuba.

If you are keen to order @kapposhunsui’s premium Japanese delicacies, please call
6732 0195.

Alternatively, you can shop online at:

https://jpdrivethru.com/

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G I F T E D
On Thursday, I had a rather atypical dinner starting with delivery being done by none other than @alanloveshisboys (again, thank you so much for doing that, Alan). He passed me two Bentos from @kapposhunsui - they‘re part of the restaurant’s NEW Takeaway Menu. Breathtaking in presentation, the contents were a feast for the eyes. And the Japan-made boxes that held the food, were simply exquisite with a gorgeous lacquer finish.
There is no doubt much effort had been put into sourcing for the best of the season and every edible thing in the two Bentos was very fresh and of top quality, which is important since prices are on the higher end.
The Tsubaki Early Summer Bento ($130), a two-tiered structure, held these in its upper box: Dashimaki Tamago, Miso-marinated Silver Cod, Egg Miso-marinated Salmon, Roasted Duck, Lettuce Soup with Fresh Tofu Skin and Sesame Tofu, Skewer of Tamagoyaki, Kurama Ebi and Shishito Pepper, Lemon Bowl Ikura, Bamboo Rolled Gluten, Kamo Eggplant with Miso Paste (my fave!!), Grilled Abalone and Asparagus, Autumn Leaves Gluten, Broad Beans and Pickled Japanese Ginger.
The bottom box contained Conger Eel Sushi, Baby Sardine with Japanese Pepper Rice, Bamboo Maki Sushi and Shibazuke Pickles.

Accompanying the Bento was a large serving of an intense Miso Soup concocted with Japanese Pepper, Steamed Miller Wheat Gluten, Nameko Mushrooms and Mitsuba.

To indulge in @kapposhunsui’s premium Japanese delicacies, please call 6732 0195 to order. Alternatively, you can shop online at:

https://jpdrivethru.com/

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G I F T E D
Chef-owner @nobuhiro.nishi.7 of newly-open @nishikane.sg, is the sixth-generation of a family of Kaiseki chefs, so you bet he knows what he’s doing. And apparently, Leon (@uncle_lim_chiak) knows what he is doing too because so far, his choices of food to send me have been unerringly accurate to my taste.
This time, besides the incredible Saba Sushi-Bo which I’ve already posted about, he picked Chef Nobu’s Signature Nodoguro Uni Donabe ($100, good for 2 pax). I would describe it as sublimely done premium comfort food that compels you to sigh deeply with happiness when you eat it.
Because it’s cooked in a traditional Japanese claypot over high heat, the seasoned rice is perfumed with smokiness as well as the infusion of oils and the flavours of the Nodoguro (Black Throat Perch), rendering it deeply delicious. Over it is spread shredded flesh of the fish, before gloriously creamy tongues of golden Uni are carefully placed (by the way, Leon revealed he had paid extra for us to have more Uni to enjoy, so what’s shown in my video is not quite the standard order).
I found this dish stupendous not just for its marvelous taste but also because of how well it travelled. Furthermore, the packaging of natural materials was simple but ingenious and chic.

Orders for Chef Nobu’s Takeaway Menu can be made through WhatsApp at:

8̳8̳7̳6̳6̳3̳9̳4̳.

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Thanks to @kenloon, I learned that @kazusumiyakirestaurant has a Takeaway Menu and in there, is a particular dish that Ken enjoys very much - the “Yaki Tori Chirashi”.
Available in 2 sizes, the Small can feed 1 or 2 pax ($18 / $22) while the Large is good for 3 to 4 pax ($50). Outstanding value if you ask me because regardless of the size you choose, it is essentially an aesthetically-pleasing tray of Japanese rice that smells incredible as it is spread with freshly-grilled pieces of boneless chicken and its exciting “spare parts” (think gizzard, liver, skin etc. but you can request to leave them out if you are the squeamish sort), minced chicken meatballs (these are soft and delicious!), quail’s eggs, shiitake mushrooms and assorted vegetables. Everything is grilled to perfection by the Chef-owner Kazu, which is why the dish has such an intoxicating smokiness. And somehow, that fragrance manages to linger on even when the food has completely cooled down.
If you fancy red meat, the tender and appetisingly-seasoned “Wagyu Hamburg with Rice” is a steal at $15.
I do however feel the “Yaki Tori Chirashi” is the real star of this show and therefore highly recommend it.

To place an order, please WhatsApp:
9̲1̲5̲9̲ ̲5̲9̲7̲3̲.

For a look at their full Takeaway menu, tap on the link in @kazusumiyakirestaurant’s bio on Instagram.

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Thanks to @dphuacs (with the link-up from @engtingting), I received a delivery from @kajikensquare2 for my family lunch. It’s probably been more than a year since I had Mazesoba, so I was looking forward to having the dry-style ramen again.
What’s the most important step to enjoying this dish is a very thorough toss. And I mean VERY THOROUGH. You should aim to spend at least 30 seconds mixing everything up (if you ordered yours with toppings, do move them to a plate first). Investing this half a minute of your day ensures the strands of ramen are evenly coated in the onsen egg, minced meat sauce, spring onion and strips of crisp seaweed. Otherwise, you will find it clumpy and dry in parts.
Pro Tip: You can request for the sauce to be packed separately if you want to pour it in just before mixing which I think is actually the best thing to do. And if you like more heat and acidity in your Mazesoba, don’t be afraid to ask for extra chilli oil and vinegar.
David also sent me something that I had never tried before - the Mazesoba with Cod Roe and Mayonnaise ($15.80). I found myself also enjoying this ramen for its lusciously creamy and very savoury-umami sauce.
As for ramen texture, @kajikensquare2 cooks theirs al dente for a pleasing QQ chew.

You can tap on the link in their bio to order their curbside delivery. By the way, delivery for the FIRST 10 ORDERS EVERYDAY that hits $30 and above is FREE, regardless of distance. But if you live within 10km of their restaurant situated in Novena Square 2 and your order meets the minimum bill amount, you don’t have to pay for delivery.

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T R E A T
Should you be gunning for a crazy jaw-dropper of a Japanese Wagyu meal, Fat Cow‘s expanded menu should be your first stop to shop. Trust this popular local brand to push the envelope when planning how else to improve on their already tempting options.
Gourmands and aged beef aficionados, you must try the “21-Days Dry-aged A5 Nagasaki Wagyu Premium Donburi” ($138) - it will have you quivering in ecstasy. Those thick slices of grilled beef have a decidedly complex and funkier flavour, coupled with a smoothness due to the breakdown of its fibre over time. Hand on my heart, I was swooning as I slowly ate each piece, wishing to have its taste burned into my memory forever.

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On par in magnificence with the “21-Days Dry-aged Nagasaki Premium Donburi” ($138) but of a different kind as this beef flavour is more straightforward, is the “A4 Miyazaki Premium Donburi” ($128). As you can imagine, this flawlessly grilled fat-laced beef has the ability to melt in the mouth, triggering X-rated sounds of pleasure.
The rice bowl also contains cubes of Pan-fried Foie Gras (so smoky, creamy and tender!), as well as briny pops of Ikura (salmon roe) and Caviar. All of the above are arranged, together with an Onsen Egg, on a generous portion of deliciously-seasoned Japanese rice.
Served alongside are a bowl of Miso Soup and a Chawanmushi that practically explodes with prawn, chicken and mushroom.

To place an order, just tap on the link in their Instagram bio.

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T R E A T
I can’t stress how amazing this deal from @thegyubar.sg’s Takeaway Menu is. Specially priced for a limited time, the Sukiyaki OR Shabu Shabu Set Meal for 2 pax are going for a serious song.

If you choose the Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu, it’s $158 (usual price: $198) and includes 6 huge slices of the Miyazaki Sirloin, Dashi and Sukiyaki sauce to cook in (these are sealed in bags), a massive serving of mixed vegetables (there’s Japanese leeks, corn, carrots and more), shiitake and enoki mushrooms, tofu, two Japanese eggs (you’re suppose to break them before dipping in the beef but I was too excited and missed that step 😅), konjac noodles and two bowls of Hokkaido rice.

If you choose Hokkaido Pork instead of #MiyazakiWagyu beef, it’s $88 for the Set for 2 pax (usual price: $128).

I can vouch this indulgence is worth every cent as the quality of the ingredients is excellent.
At the moment, orders are taken via calling #thegyubarsg directly at:
9150 3164.

They do have many other food and drink items (sake and wines) on their Takeaway Menu which you can check out as well. In addition, you will also receive a 10% rebate voucher.

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Follow me on Instagram (@veronicaphua) for much more content! 😊

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