Oishii ~ Japanese Food

Oishii ~ Japanese Food

On the hunt for good and tasty Japanese food all around Singapore! This list is dedicated for all Japanese food lovers.
Vanessa Kou
Vanessa Kou

Unapologetically sinful, Fat Cow’s Miyazaki A4 Wagyu Premium Donburi ($128) was real decadent. A large bowl of well-seasoned beef fat rice layered with slices of A5 Nagasaki wagyu topped with caviar, buttery foie gras, ikura, a runny onsen egg, and truffle shoyu - there was really quite a lot going on. Apart from the medley of heavy-tasting elements, the rice portion was also a little much. However, the fat-laced wagyu steak was indeed flawlessly grilled (perfect when dipped into the brilliantly yellow yolk). Done medium-rare, it was succulent and complementary to the heady truffle aroma. Not overly beefy, the thickness of the protein was just right for me as it felt substantial without being overwhelming. The alfalfa, on the side, was a great touch in cutting some of the richness. What’s more, I truly enjoyed the cubes of pan-fried foie gras (so tender and strangely, pleasantly sweet) and the briny pops of ikura. With the lunch set was also a lovely Chawanmushi topped with a flavourful layer of ankake as well as miso soup and not forgetting a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

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Known to be a firm favourite at ISHI, their Special Rice Bowl, at a supplement of $40, was really indulgent. Loaded with tons of chopped tuna, the bowl was completed with leek, pickled radish, ebi (as they were out of their usual hand picked seasonal crab), house marinated salmon roe, and fresh sea urchin. Brimming with all the seafood-y goodness, the umami flavours came out a little strong for me but well worth the splurge as it was a relatively generous serving. Texture-wise, I would have preferred it more if they added some crunch.

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As for the line-up of their 7 Nigiri sushi, my favourites would have to be the Anago, the Mackerel Roll, and the Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Tiger prawn). Just melt-in-the-mouth, the Anago Sushi was done to perfection and love that it was served warm. Bamboo leaf-smoked, the Sea Eel was remarkably soft and the brush of the savoury sauce was really the icing on the cake. And as what many have said, their shari (vinegared rice) is exceptional.

Part of Sushi Mieda's seasonal Kikyou lunch menu ($140++)

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At $5 a pop, the Beancurd with Century Egg was worth a try even though the portion was certainly on the smaller side. Served in a cup, the chilled tofu was decently silky and was largely flavoured by the savoury century egg (pidan) sauce. The ratio of tobiko to beancurd was also pretty shiok as you get a good crunch with almost every bite.

My little bowl of celebration, Koji Sushi Bar’s Special Sashimi Rice Bowl ($35) was a treat for both the eyes and stomach; presented with relatively thick slices of fresh-tasting salmon, tuna, scallops, amberjack, sea bream, briny pops of roe and soft strips of creamy sea urchin. The bowl also had grated Japanese mountain yam and a silky egg yolk above my choice of mixed grain rice (+$1) which provided an interesting add-on of textures. Though satisfying, the bowl’s premium price tag was a tad difficult to swallow in my opinion as you can get as much out of their other donburi options. Each order of donburi comes with a bowl of miso soup and salad doused in sesame sauce as well.

A competent lineup of Japanese grilled meats, seafood, and vegetables, Keyaki’s Kaze 風 set ($155) was rather substantial and allowed me to sample a good variety of proteins. Grilled and flamed right in front of me, the plate of seafood trio (Prawn, Scallop, and Salmon) were pretty good, and went swimming with the tangy-vinegary dip that came alongside. The chunks of prawn and scallop were sweet and plump. The salmon was also flaky and nicely seasoned.

Of course, I can’t not have beef at a teppanyaki place. The succulent and juicy cubes of US beef were very enjoyable. Though not to the point of melt-in-your-mouth, the cut was sufficiently tender and tasted deliciously rich without that big, overwhelming beefy flavour. And if you want to elevate the meatiness, the dip on the side worked wonders. The crisp and thin garlic chips served on the plate were also really satisfying to munch on.

* Part of Kaze 風 set ($155)

Warm up your belly with their Oden Moriawase ($14.80)! The 7-item assorted oden was all savoury, comforting, and homey. Right at the very top, the triangle Hanpen (pounded fish cake) was wondrously soft with a slightly spongy texture and a mild fishy taste. The Ganmo (fried tofu fritter with vegetables), similarly, was a fluffy number that managed to soak up the flavours of the broth with a gentle chew. Offering more of a bite were the springy Shirataki (konjac noodles) tied in a bundle and the well-braised Daikon. There was also the classic tamago and fish cake but the item that offered the most flavour was the Ro-ru Kabetsu (rolled cabbage with chicken and vegetables). A little tough to chew, the wrap was rather hearty with the addition of meat. And of course, I can’t forget the dashi base. Being both delicate and lip-smacking, the oden broth was naturally sweet with a slight seafood-y flavour.

*Note that there's a mandatory charge of $3/person for otoshi

Cooling down in an instant thanks to Dosukoi x Donpachi’s Peach Kakigori ($22.80). Covered in a pretty pink peach syrup and crowned with a generous dollop of cream, the mountain of shaved ice was surprisingly fine and indeed ‘fuwa fuwa’ (though still flakier than the familiar Korean bingsu). Not too sweet, the syrup was refreshingly sweet and didn’t taste artificial at all. There were also soft chunks of sweet peach amid the light fluffy cream. And with this seasonal fruity hit, I had to add their Shiratama ($2). Tender and chewy, the mochi provided some fun textural contrast to the bowl of ice.

^Note that there's a mandatory charge of $3/person for otoshi and that their kakigori is only available at certain times of the day

*Hope I didn't get the geotag wrong

Spotted with a fresh look after the shift to their new unit at Bugis+, Ramen Champion is back with hand-kneaded ramen noodles made in-house daily. And what better way to enjoy the preservative-free noodles than having it ‘Tsukemen-style’. Jam-packed with umami flavour, 大勝軒 Taishoken’s Tsukemen dipping broth was boldly and unapologetically savoury - a little sweet and smoky as well. Made with dried anchovy and dried bonito, the meat-based broth was also hearty and lip-smacking. A little rich in the beginning, the broth was not overly thick but for me, I like adding the soup wari (special dashi broth) served alongside to balance out the heavy flavours. The noodles were bouncy, slurpy, slightly chewy, and held on to the sauce pretty well. As for the other elements, the ramen egg and bamboo shoots were well-marinated. Tender and nicely charred, the sliced char-siu were not too ‘porky’, fatty or lean.

*Oh and till 26 December 2021, get a complimentary choice of soft drink with any order of ramen or tendon!

Yet another tendon restaurant hailed from Japan (not that I am complaining), Tempura Makino’s lunch sets were pretty decent though a little steep in price. Having their Makino Special Tendon ($25) which comes with miso soup, I liked that the portion of rice was on the smaller side but overall the bowl was still really substantial with all the items. Stacked with battered Kisu Fish, Anago, Ika, Maitake Mushroom, Butternut Pumpkin, Eggplant, French Bean, Egg, and three pieces of Ebi Tempura; the tendon had quite the selection. The ingredients tasted fresh, especially the seafood. With the light batter, the flavours, and most importantly the textures of the items were able to shine, even the more delicate ones like the saltwater eel and squid. The Maitake Mushroom and Butternut Pumpkin were really sweet as well. I also enjoyed the fact that their signature tare sauce was more savoury than sweet and was mainly found drizzled on the rice instead of the tempura. However, it was definitely a little cloying to have it all in one seating for me - all the tempura plus the richness of the yolk. The complimentary yuzu daikon certainly helped in countering the heaviness.

A surprisingly light blend, Kanada-ya’s Tonkotsu Mix Ramen ($17.90/ Regular) combines the familiar creamy pork bone base with a savoury chicken paitan broth. Not too thick and very palatable, the bowl was really decent and a relatively safe option. The belly chashu slices were sufficiently thin, a good ratio of fats to meat, and not too ‘pork-y’. Topped with wood ear fungus, spring onion, perfectly marinated hanjuku egg, and 2 pieces of nori; the ramen noodles were also pretty well-executed - slurpy and al dente.

Thank you Kanada-Ya for the invite and the warm hospitality!

2 Moods: Hangry & Sleepy [Instagram: @vanessa_kou]

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