Outrageously Oishii

Outrageously Oishii

Who doesn’t like Japanese food? I sure do, but unfortunately there are many mediocre Japanese establishments that crowd Singapore’s F&B scene. To save you time, money, and calories, why not browse through this selection to get a head start on where to fulfill your cravings next?
Mystickal / Melly W
Mystickal / Melly W

[ Food Review — Fav hitsumabushi specialist in town! ] Who here loves unagi? There’re few things that beat the honeyed, smokey taste of eel, and frankly, it’s like having a slightly healthier version of char siew!

One of the places my family used to visit pre-covid for unagi was Uya. Before the fire incident, you could look into the kitchen and watch the chefs grill eel after eel in almost hypnotic synchronisation. (You got to peek at the live eels then too!) That, along with the view (and heat) of the charcoal pit really added to the experience.

This time, I brought certain someone and his dad there instead!

Uya is renowned for not just any unagi dish. It’s claim to fame is with its Nagoya-styled hitsumabushi. On first glance, it may look similar to unadon or unajyuu. But what sets hitsumabushi aside is the number of condiments present on your tray, along with the pre-cut unagi laid out in an ohitsu (wooden rice container) instead of a bowl.

This is where the magic begins. Not only do you get to enjoy the unagi in its traditional eel-on-rice way (1), you can season it with any/all/none of the condiments (2), before eating the remaining portion with dashi á la ochazuke (3)! If you want to go ahead and eat the entire portion as solely 1, 2 or 3, that’s totally fine too. The idea is that you get variety and autonomy — as long as it tastes and f-eels good for you, you’re good!

A certain someone and I opted for a large and normal hitsumabushi respectively, while his dad got the unagi rice box (basically an unajyu), of which the latter turned out to be quite a spectacle in itself.

To my relief, the food quality was still excellent, with the sticky sweet unagi charred crisp yet tender, leaving behind a distinctive omega-3 sleekness after each bite.

It was addictive.

The best part for me is when adding in the dashi — the broth softened the rich, heavy tones of the unagi and smoothened the edged textures, making the end of my meal a much lighter affair.

Our sides were fab too: The Rare Wagyu Beef Salad was refreshing; the Oyster Tempura was a mosaic of textures; the Unagi Egg Roll was fluffy and gentle; and both the dudes enjoyed the grilled liver and liver ponzu!

[ Food Review — Menu Update ] It’s been quite a while since we were last at Gaijin, oops. I’m not big on going to KAP mall because of the type of crowd the place attracts (and the mozzies + cig smoke doesn’t help matters either), and with numerous alternatives in the area, I’d completely forgotten about Gaijin until recently!

Turns out a few things have changed: Instead of operating two menus that you can cross-order from regardless of where you’re seated, they’ve removed their sushi menu (side across the cashier). I’m a tad disappointed because I prefer that selection, but I can’t and won’t fault a business for streamlining operations if it improves their quality and longevity!

Because it was a pretty long day and both of us were feeling pretty under the weather anyway, we chose to get richer and heartier dishes. Niku udon for me, tempura curry rice for him, and ebi tempura to share.

While I know many of Gaijin’s patrons prefer their ramen, I’m all about their udon! Partly because there are no other udon options nearby, but also because it’s genuinely enjoyable. The noodles are honestly not the best I’ve had — not bouncy nor stretchy enough for my liking — but are totally fine when slurped with dashi and niku. The dashi was mild yet fragrant, with obvious kombu notes, which created a mellow, stable base for the true highlight of the dish: the beef. You don’t just get any beef here — each bowl is crowned with USDA angus beef slices; lightly blanched to doneness whilst retaining its knitted texture. (If you’re hungry, I’d suggest adding on more beef via their “the works” option cause the beef’s worth it!)

A certain someone’s curry fared well too, with him inhaling most of it minutes after it arrived. The curry’s not too thick and on the lighter side; while that may be a turn off to some, it is especially well-suited, and thus easy, to eat with the rice.

And of course, Gaijin knocked their tempura out of the park again. I think they’re still the only place I eat tempura at, and I don’t think that’ll change soon! Craggy batter that’s airy and non-oily, king prawns that are bulbous and succulent, vegetables that are fresh and sweet — now that’s happiness in a bite!

[@meltingflavours on Insta] I ramble about food. A lot. 📝Long posts | ❌🧀🍷🥛 ⛔️Do not repost⛔️

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