いま食べたい‼

いま食べたい‼

Dons, Ramen, Sushi, Tempura, Okonomiyaki. All things Japanese.
Siming T
Siming T

Yakiniku had been a trending sight in the food scene recently, but apart from the neighbourhood restaurants that had emerged, Wa Don-Don might be another name that one should remember.

As I was ushered to the seat, the waitress was prompt to bring over a piece of frozen towel, which was kind of a godsend because the charcoal grill was already warmed up and ready to fire some meats. Their Ox Tongue with Spring Onion (S$24.00) was pretty interesting as the grilling was to be done on only one side before removing from the grill, so that the chewy meat would also carry a refreshing flavour from the generous layer of spring onion. Ribeye with Salt (S$19.50) was also a must-get for me as the thin layers of ribeye were really juicy and was loaded with the classic salt and pepper flavours coupled with the aroma from the burning charcoal. Pretty much a simple pleasure!

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One of the simple joys from Kuriya Japanese Market would be their Salmon Mentai Sushi which would come in a pack of seven pieces at S$8.90.

Although the rice might be a little bit dry towards the end of the day, it was still lovely to have the salmon pieces decorated with mayonnaise and roe before blow-torched for a bit of char.

And for those who might think that this could be a bit too pricey still, the icing on the cake was that I bought this at a 30% discount after 8.00pm. Now I am thinking if I should swing by the shop on a more regular basis to grab this for my late dinners and suppers.

It’s a wonderful mix of flavours and texture with Tsujiri’s Warabimochi Parfait (S$8.50), as the tea soft-serve had a good balance of sweetness and bitterness, on top of whipped cream, Houjicha jelly and roasted rice cushioning the soft serve. The Warabimochi, each coated in Matcha powder and soy powder respectively, were also smooth and mildly chewy, plus they were quite reasonably-sized too! Drizzled with black honey sauce, the flavours were further elevated to make this a delicate yet indulgent parfait dessert.

I would guess that most people would have their favourite haunts to get their Tendon fix by now, but since Tempura Makino was a popular specialty restaurant chain from Japan, why not right?

Their Makino Special Tendon (S$25.00) comprised three pieces of Ebi Tempura and a piece each of Kisu Fish, Anago, Ika, Maitake Mushroom, Butternut Pumpkin, French Bean and Egg, all supposedly fried upon order. Hence, waiting time was understandably longer because of this “tsudoage” style.

The first impression of the Donburi was not too bad to be honest, because the mouth of the bowl was rather wide, but that also meant that the fried stuff were laying quite flatly on top of the rice. Somehow I hoped that everything was standing and leaning against one another. In terms of its flavour, I felt that the ingredients tasted a little delicate, relying on the Tendon sauce to add that Umami, but that was pretty much it.

Prices were definitely steeper than what many other places would offer. Even though the ingredients used could be said to be more premium, it might be quite a while before I make a return visit, since there was no lack of eateries to choose from in Suntec City Mall.

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Bread shops were competitive at the basement of Great World. Among them, Gokoku Shichifuku was a brand that was brought in by RE&S Group (the same group that owned Ichiban Boshi). With a wide selection of bread and baked buns with fillings, bread lovers would find it difficult not to take a second look, especially when they could earn loyalty e-stamps with every S$20.00 spent.

Of course, the Signature Hokkaido Red Bean Anpan (S$2.40) was a mandatory purchase for me because the red bean paste was perfectly sweet with many red beans that could be nibbled with every bite. What was surprisingly good was that the bread was also very soft and fluffy, so it would probably also be a hit among young children because they could also easily eat this bread. I mean, don’t we all reminisce a nice Anpan from a Japanese bakery during our childhood?

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Our impression of pudding would usually be sweet, but Ippudo had this Japanese Shio Pudding (S$5.90) that also carried a balanced twist of savouriness. Although it might not be silky in every scoop, it was still able to melt in the mouth.

The portion might seem small, but it was actually a sufficient size for one. Any larger might just feel too much for a dessert like this.

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Not that I would usually find this in a Japanese restaurant, but the Asari Butter Ramen (S$14.90) was quite an interesting find, with a ricebowl full of clams submerged in the clear soup to give a light but flavourful broth. And I somehow appreciated the fact that it was a simple bowl of noodles that was aptly comforting, rain or shine.

Inspired by Kansai street food, the Hashimaki with Cheese & Mentaiko (S$4.80) was like a savoury pancake with fillings and blanketed by a sunny side-up on top. When eaten correctly, the runny egg yolk would break and coat the remaining part of the snack. And even the menu wrote that this was Instagrammable (i.e. not exactly worth re-ordering after the first try?).

The Japanese had always enjoyed their own local produce, and it was no surprise that a simple bowl of Japanese rice, an egg and some soy sauce would make a decent meal too.

Bringing this concept to Singapore, the Ultimate Egg Rice used imported eggs (with that distinctive orange yolk) to create this Ultimate Egg Rice. I liked to mix in the minced raw tuna (Negitoro) just for that extra nutrition, and some marinated salmon just for the chunky fish texture.

However, if S$11.80 was too pricey for this meal, then I would suggest to save the S$3.00 by not getting the salmon, since it did not exactly give me the satisfaction with those countable cubes of meat.

Bringing the hands-on dining to the next level, one could order the DIY Niku Sushi Set to make customised versions of his favourite grilled boneless beef short ribs with desirable amounts of condiments provided, at a low price of S$6.80 per set.

I’d love the experience of piecing everything together, but I was not too sure if the vinegar rice tasted a little too outstanding from the juicy slice of beef to the point that it was a slight off with disharmony. And I guess if I could request, I would have really appreciated some granulated salt and black pepper, instead of having that strips of seaweed.

Yakiniku-GO was a fuss-free, do-it-yourself Japanese restaurant that was newly open at The Seletar Mall. Although a similar concept might have already appeared in PLQ Mall last year, I was still thrilled to see this one appearing under the RE&S brands (so it would mean I could earn stamps on my loyalty card too, yay!).

The queue situation might have been a bit bad during lunch or dinner hours, with waiting times going as long as 120 minutes before a table could he assigned. However, one could choose to complete their grocery shopping while waiting for the table to be ready, since the automated system (triggered by QR code) would have notified me through my WhatsApp when I could be seated.

The Double Karubi Set (100g) was quite a hit for me, even though it only comprised short plate and boneless short rib, because there was a balanced portion of fat and lean meat. And despite having some dips served together with the set, I quite enjoyed the natural taste of beef, and its melted fats coating the bowl of rice for that seductive fragrance.

Dine-in was limited to 60 minutes only, but that would be sufficient to finish a meal and to chat up with your accompanying diners.

I bet SUKIYA was a highly-anticipated restaurant when boardings were placed around the restaurant before its opening.

Indeed, SUKIYA granted my wish for reasonably-priced beef bowls, with a medium-sized Gyudon at S$4.90 and a Half Boiled Egg Beef Yakiniku Bowl at S$7.90 respectively. In terms of flavour, the Beef Yakiniku Bowl would be slightly richer in flavour because of the additional sauté touch to the beef, but the Gyudon was not bad too given its lighter flavours to allow the natural beef flavours to subtly fill the mouth. A medium bowl would be sufficient to make up a regular meal, since it also came in huge portions of fluffy Japanese rice. Strangely, the rice was a tad marshy, of was that their unique texture that they were trying to deliver?

So perhaps Yoshinoya would now be facing a strong contender in the beef bowl scene. Hopefully, more outlets would spring across the country so that the affordable Gyudon and Yakiniku Don could be found everywhere.

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First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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