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Fast Food Katsu.

imageIt was lunchtime yet again and since we liked those Katsu Loins‘ from Hong Kong so much we talked a couple of colleagues into having some ‘Tonkatsu‘ at ‘Ginza Bairin’. The JCube branch was much more a fast food lunch joint than a restaurant with a cut down menu compared to the one I new from before.

I chose the ‘Rosu Katsu Don‘ which came with the leaner pork loin, not looking to appealing but I somewhat didn’t care. The fried loin was juicy and glued in between this tasty savoury mix of egg, glazed onions and sweet tonkatsu sauce. The big boo was the rice not being proper Japanese style which not only made it considerably more difficult to eat but also stole the dish it’s signature texture and taste.

I still liked this comforting stuff but maybe go checkout ‘Tonkichi’ next time instead to see if they use all the right ingredients and to get my free flow cabbage on.

Ginza Bairin 銀座梅林
2 Jurong East Central 1
#B1-K05 JCube
Singapore 609731
Tel: +65 6684 3378
http://ginzabairin.com/en/index.php

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Ad hoc yakitori.

imageWe wanted to go to check out ‘Kazu’ at Cuppage Plaza and naively thought we would get in without a reservation. Ya, we didn’t and so made our way down story by story looking for an alternative. There used to be another yakitori place on the ground level which had moved out but ‘Shinjuku’ that took it’s place also had some meat on sticks on offer so we settled for this.

We had some ‘Yakitori‘ for starters; there was oddly tasting bacon wrapped asparagus, some okay chicken and leek but the winner here were the chicken meatballs. At first I hesitated ordering them but was very happy I did. They had a soft texture, were well seasoned and covered in a  wonderfully sweet and savory glaze. Seldom had tasty chicken like that before.

imageI found ‘Mince Katsu‘ on the menu which wasn’t very nicely presented at all but I didn’t care as it actually tasted pretty great. The minced pork was rich but not greasy and dipping it into the brilliantly sweet tonkatsu sauce finished the job.

Other than that the ‘Sashimi‘ was alright, as were the ‘Udon‘, the ‘Wagyu Steak‘ was buttery good but not too special but the ‘Japanese Pickles‘ – cucumber, radish, cabbage and eggplant – i just loved them, as I do, maybe except the eggplant which was weird.

We weren’t too disappointed with our evening in the end also because the staff was super nice and understanding even when the noise level increased dramatically after inhaling a li’l too much of their sake. Thanks for the nice fun evening.

Shinjuku Restaurant  新宿
5 Koek Road
#01-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6734 8436

One bowl at a time.

imageIt was ramen time again and since my birthday dinner I wanted to go back to ‘Miharu‘ and try their ‘Shoyu Ramen‘. I was about to order the one with the special soya but the waitress here was kinda dominant and sort of talked me into ordering the normal standard version instead. From what she said I doubted she ever had tried either herself but since I seem to have a soft spot for pushy waitresses I followed her recommendation and it actually turned out great.

Even that I really liked the soya base of their shoyu broth I was still a little bit reminiscing about that way saltier bowl I had at ‘Menya Musashi‘ in Tokyo, which made my mouth dry out big time. I still found the corn an odd ingredient in a bowl of ramen but appreciated the alien texture it added. The chashu wasn’t really anything special and this time I didn’t even try the bamboo shoots but therefore the egg was outstanding and on point perfect, coldish and waxy. I wonder if I will ever get their noodle process as the menu offers the option to upgrade the thickness of your noodles but every time I ordered a bowl so far asking for the thickest version I was told I didn’t have a choice. Anyway all in all a lovely bowl.

This visit wasn’t my last one here as I still want to explore their menu a bit more and hopefully next time I’ll find the guts to stand my ground against that waitress. One bowl at a time, one bowl at a time.

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
#01-11 The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Singapore 238909
Tel: +65 6733 8464

Amazeballs.

imageIt was our last day in Hong Kong and after another rather early night we left our apartment for the airport but before we desperately needed to get our grub on. The first option we headed for, a “Cantonese Hot Dog Shop” didn’t look too tempting in real life so we made it easy for ourselves and went into IFC mall to check out its’ long list of restaurants. Despite being in Hong Kong and knowing we should actually have Cantonese or at least Chinese we weren’t too picky and too lazy to start a big hunt and so ended up at ‘Ginza Bairin’ a Japanese Tonkotsu restaurant conveniently located just above the Airport Express station.

Because it is fried stuff I haven’t been to such a place for a long while and took this “once in a lifetime” opportunity for a good enough reason for going to town on that pork. I ordered the ‘Hire Katsu Set‘ which was put together from Japanese rice, a pork miso soup, pickles and big pieces of fried pork fillet. The soup was one of the better ones I had mainly as I really liked the pork miso combination. The fillet balls were amazing, the crumbs were extremely crispy and properly drained from most of the fat, no weird chunks anywhere to be found and fried simply on spot. Pork gets dry when to well done and disgusting when rare but these ones were juicy and soft. Dipped in the sweetish tonkatsu sauce and there you go, awesome pork amazeballs. One other thing that is not particularly difficult to make but which I found wicked anyway was the free flow of thinly sliced cabbage that drizzled with their wasabi dressing gave an ideal balance to the rather heavy other bits on my plate(s).

Even that I felt a bit bad not trying ‘Mr. Bing’ or other things from my long to-eat list for Hong Kong I was not sorry at all we had tried this and researching a bit being back home I figured there’s outlets of ‘Ginza Bairin’ here in Singapore as well which makes me kinda happy.

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin 銀座梅林
Shop 3031, Level 3
IFC Mall
8 Finance Street
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2295 1112
http://www.ginzabairin.com.hk/index_eng.html

Maybe stick to the fish

imageI had friends in town who I met back in 2008 during my first weeks here in Asia and since they are now living in Europe they were craving for some Japanese and so we met at ‘New Garo’ up in Chun Tin Road. As I already had an excessive Japanese dinner one night before I didn’t really feel like anything fish but spotted their cold ‘Hyashi Chuka Ramen‘ on the menu and made my pick.

This ramen was covered with spinach, chashu, a bit to sweet tamago (sweet omelette), fish cake, pickled ginger, cucumber and bamboo shoots and sesame seeds which made it all look very pretty and colorful. It tastes quite refreshing, the noodles had a nice bite and all the different textures of the ingredients made it quite entertaining too eat. The sauce was a light soy and vinegar vinaigrette that I kinda liked it and even that overall this wasn’t really an arousing experience it nevertheless was refreshing and tasty.

I came to ‘New Garo’ a number of times before and like it as a place for decent sushi to reasonable prices so I will surely come back, not neccessarily for the ramen though.

New Garo Japanese Restaurant
6A Chun Tin Road
Singapore 599593
Tel: +65 6467 8905

Getting my textures on!

imageI finally managed to catch up with some lovely friends, including my very reliable Nippon food consultant, at Cuppage Plaza  over some quite interesting dishes. We met at ‘Kaiho’s’ a mid sized sushi bar on the third floor and to my surprise ended up having a multi course omakase set. The dinner kicked off with some starters like ‘Edamame‘, funny looking ‘Fish Crackers‘ and a delicious somehow cured ‘Cuttlefish‘. I was really skeptical as all these dried squid things are totally not mine but this was amazing, not too fishy with a soft elastic consistency. Best thing was the roe mayonnaise to dip it in.

imageNext was a fat slice of ‘Otoro‘ (fatty tuna belly). The rose meat melted between the otherwise rather hard and extremely chunky white bits which were really difficult to chew down all followed by an equally weird undefinable piece of chunky fat underneath. Taste wise good but texture, oh my.

imageThis was followed by a nice selection of small dishes like fried fish cubes, a selection of good quality sushi and sashimi, sweet crab legs, maguro soup (tuna), a wonderfully surprising ‘Agedashi Eal‘ and some sweet and creamy ‘Uni Handrolls‘ (sea urchin).

imageMy favorite dish of the night was a lightly seared ‘Beef Sushi‘. It had such a strong beefy flavor and even though cut fairly thick didn’t require any chewing at all. No teeth needed. Simply amazing.

imageAfter the official menu had finished we kept on ordering sushi variations and ended it all with above ‘Sardine Sushi‘ which was expectedly fishy but in a great way with something that seemed like a fermented bean and sambal paste on top that spiced it up properly.

For dessert we had a juicy yet a bit watery ‘Momo‘ (Japanese peach) and a brilliant ‘Wasabi Ice Cream’. To my delight the sharp wasabi taste and the light sweetness worked very well together but the awesome thing about this really was that with every spoon the heat grew on me so much that at the end I had to hang my tongue out of my mouth to give it some fresh air.

‘Kaiho Sushi’ is a nice little new place for my list and has a lot to offer. Maybe just the price and the variety of challenging textures here will make me choose places like ‘Nagomi‘ over this for my next omakase run.

http://bernardtang.com/

Kaiho Sushi
5 Koek Road
#03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6738 1315

Leave Ramen to the Experts

imageI was now nearly one week in Germany and thought it would be a good idea to try out some Asian fair around here. Together with two colleagues I went to the recently opened ‘Urban Kitchen’ at the location of the old swimming pool in Heidelberg.

I didn’t see anything that was tempting on the menu so I gave their ramen selection a shot. They had some weird toppings on sale but the fact that they were offering miso and shoyu versions here made me curious. I ordered the ‘Shoyu Beef Ramen‘ and it actually looked quite nice with it’s dark broth and big slap of grilled beef on top. Taking my first slurp of the soup brought me back to reality and that Germany is rather a rookie in the art of ramen cooking. Sadly it was pretty tasteless, not salty whatsoever and probably not cooked for very long. The noodles were dreadful boring strings with no flexibility and springiness and tasted awful floury. All other toppings were quite okay, the snow peas were al dente and the steak even though a little out of place tasted pretty nice and beefy.

‘Urban Kitchen’ is a nice and lively place and my soup was okay and maybe a good choice for a light lunch or dinner but it was definitely nothing anywhere close to the mighty ramen. I kinda knew but still hoped for a decent copy of the real thing.

http://www.myurbankitchen.de/index.php

Urban Kitchen
Poststrasse 36/7 (Im Alten Hallenbad)
69121 Heidelberg
Germany
Tel: +49 6221 9986793

Spare the Calories

imageI was running some last minute errands before my Germany trip and came by Ngee Ann City just about when I felt a slight appetite growing in me. I didn’t feel too hungry so I wanted to get a small bowl of cold udon at this shop my friend recommended in the basement just to realize it’s a branch of ‘Tsuru-koshi‘ which I already visit too frequently during my lunch hours. So a bit more hungry now I recognized a small ramen shop in the corner that offered ‘Tantanmen‘ and even that I wasn’t in the mood for something that heavy I still queued up.

They had a tantanmen special with a super spicy version but since I had a twelve hour flight in front of me I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risk and therefore chose the standard one which the very friendly waiter reckoned should be spicy enough. When my bowl arrived it looked rather ordinary and I was not quite sure if I made the right choice. I tried a few slurps from the bright orange broth which was not particularly bad but didn’t have much of a sesame taste and hardly any heat kicked in. I appreciated the huge amount of sprouts and the eggs were nicely waxy. The chashu was alright but had an unpleasant aftertaste, the bamboo shoots looked terribly thick and brown that I didn’t touch them at all and the noodles were overcooked and way too soft.

It was worth a try but I am not really considering coming back here anytime soon. Not alone because of the average taste but also because of the above average price of S$20 per large bowl which is much more than most of my favorite ramen shops are charging.

Baikohken Ramen Restaurant
391A Orchard Road
#B2-01-04 Takashimaya Food Court
Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238873
Tel: +65 6235 3483

Keep The Good Ramen Coming

imageIn the past we would’ve gone out, drink a little too much and get up to no good but this year we celebrated my birthday ‘old people style’ and appropriate to my coming age with a quiet dinner so everybody could make it back home before midnight. My friend chose ‘Miharu’ at the back of the Gallery Hotel close to Robertson Walk and Mohamed Sultan which he likes a lot. Whilst waiting we had a chat with some Japanese customers in the queue who regarded ‘Miharu’ as one of the more authentic ramen shops in Singapore.

As so very often recently I felt like shoyu ramen and since they had a version in my favorite ramen style I had their ‘Komi Tsukemen‘. I first hesitated as it was advertised to have a lemonish taste but I’m glad I didn’t change my mind. The broth was lovely salty with just a hint of lemon which didn’t taste alien at all but added some comforting freshness. While the chashu and the egg were mostly ok, the bamboo shoots tough were rather weird, pretty thick and brownish in color. They didn’t really taste good as well and so I left them mostly untouched on the side of my plate. My highlight were the noodles which they import directly from a noodle factory in Japan. They were thicker than usual, nicely twisted and super chewy so that despite the huge portion that it already was I still wished for more. Definitely a new contender for the great ramen places in this town.

imageWe also ordered two sides of gyoza. The normal ‘Yaki Gyoza‘ where quite nice but the ‘Shi-So Gyoza‘ were just outstanding. According to the name they used shiso leaf in this which reminded me of thai basil and that gave those gyoza a very unique flavor that I want to taste again.

This place has been here for a while and I regretted not coming by earlier as I left yet again happy and content knowing that I had yet found another gem for my list. Brilliant.

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
#01-11 The Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road
Singapore 238909
Tel: +65 6733 8464

My Sushi Wonderland

imageThrough unforeseen coincidence my friend, who I just had visited in Hong Kong, came into town for a few days meeting. He stayed the Friday so I took him out to my newly discovered favorite sushi restaurant, ‘Fukuichi’.

Since I just been here a few weeks back we ordered some new things that I hadn’t tried the first time around. First up was the ‘Sake Sashimi‘ (salmon) which was lovely fresh and fatty, I just didn’t fancy the silver piece of skin on the top too much.

imageI was glad to hear they had the ‘Kanpachi Sushi‘ (greater amberjack) this time that was lovely soft and just a little oily on the dark red bits and because my buddy likes ‘Tamago Sushi‘ (sweet omelette) so much we also ordered one set of those. It was only lightly sweet which I appreciated, fluffy and nicely presented.

imageI’m not sure why we didn’t order ‘Uni Sushi‘ (sea urchin) the last time but this was simply fantastic. Even that I always have issues which too unique textures, this tasted so fresh and sweet and creamy that I hardly took notice of the consistency which actually wasn’t too bad anyway.

imageLike the last time we had the ‘Toro Aburi Sushi‘ (charred tuna belly) which again was very nice but to see what it would taste like in it’s original state we ordered the raw version as well. And oh my goodness this melted the exact same way in my mouth just colder and fresher than the charred version. Absolutely amazing.

imageAnother newbie for me here was the ‘Hotate Sushi‘ (scallop). Raw scallop was something I sadly avoided for a very long time which I only regretted when I forced myself trying it at ‘Nagomi‘ for the first time. The flesh had a very delicate texture, soft and light and tasted like pure freshness without any fishy aftertaste.

imageA new cooked dish we had was the ‘Grilled Beef with Miso Paste‘. The waiter unfortunately couldn’t tell me what type of meat it was but only that it was a sirloin cut. It was incredibly soft which I found slightly weird because of my distinct dislike of tenderized meat – I doubt this one was though – but it tasted great and dipping it into the miso paste gave it a lovely aroma.

You’re at good place when the dishes make you smile. That’s all I have to say.

http://www.fukuichidining.com.sg/

Fukuichi Japanese Dining
111 Somerset Road
#02-11/12 TripleOne Somerset
Singapore 238164
Tel: +65 6271 5586

Shoyu’s My New Thing

imageBeing back in Singapore I craved for some shoyu ramen (soya based), which I re-discovered for myself when I was in Tokyo, so a couple of colleagues and I went to ‘Santouka‘ at Cuppage Terrace.

I ordered the standard ‘Shoyu Ramen‘ which is a mixture of pork broth and soya sauce. The pork flavors were much more dominant in this ramen and even that it tasted pretty good that way I wished it would’ve been much more salty. Unfortunately the noodles were a bit overcooked and the chashu even though quite tasty was not the melt-in-your-mouth kind. They did a pretty good job on the extra egg I ordered though, it had the perfect yolk, waxy and delicious.

I also had one ‘Cashu Bun‘ that funny wise came accompanied by a cup of Japanese tea and tasted pretty nice. Here they had used the soft and melting chashu which I missed in the soup and had glazed the meat with a sweetish sauce and topped with Japanese mayonaise. Also the bun was nice and fluffy, it was just a little bit too big in ratio to the much smaller slice of pork.

I like this place and sitting outside when it’s not too hot – which most of the time it is – and additionally they plate up some pretty decent ramen even that this time they slacked a bit on the details.

http://www.santouka.co.jp/en/index.html

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen
21 Cuppage Road
Cuppage Terrace
Singapore 229452
Tel: +65 6235 1059

Sushi Fish Mart in the West

imageA very good friend brought me to ‘Sakuraya Fish Mart’ at West Coast Plaza because it is her family’s go to place for ‘Sashimi‘ and ‘Sushi‘. I entered the restaurant through a small Japanese grocery store and when my friend showed up we chose the ‘Sashimi‘ items from a chilled display right at the entrance.

imageWe had the standards ‘Sake‘ (Salmon) which was super soft and ‘Maguro‘ (Tuna) that had the perfect texture and a clean and sweet taste. We also ordered ‘Hotate‘ (Scallop) which tasted good but was a bit moist and slippery, ‘Mekajiki‘ (Swordfish) that I didn’t like because of it’s unpleasant texture and the ‘Kanpachi‘ (Greater Amberjack) and ‘Hamachi‘ (Yellowtail) which both had great taste and were not too lardy on the red bit.

imageFor the second round we had ‘Ebi & Tako‘ Sushi (Cooked Prawn and Octopus) which were ok but not overwhelming and the ‘Tako‘ was actually a bit on the chewy side. What was actually nice was the ‘Spicy Salmon Maki‘ which was not particularly tangy but had a great crunch from the fried salmon skin they put into it.

imageWe also ordered some cooked dishes like the ‘Fried Edamame Tofu‘ that was pretty much chunky mashed soya beans in a tofu mix battered and fried. The texture was a bit odd but interesting with the edamame bits in between but the taste was rather blend. Another one was the ‘Fried Tako‘ which was nicely crispy but pretty dry and tough too bite on the other hand.

imageLast but not least we ate the ‘Cold Buckwheat Soba‘. Though taste wise ok, this was a bit of a difficult to eat as the noodles all stuck together in one lump and unfortunately they also didn’t use any ginger in the dipping sauce.

I quite like the food here fresh and all and I appreciated that I was able to choose the exact piece of fish I later got on my table but the setup was very mall like and lacked atmosphere but seemed very suitable for families with kids.

http://www.sakuraya.com.sg/

Sarukaya Fish Mart
154 West Coast Road
#B1-50/51/52 West Coast Plaza
127371 Singapore
Tel: +65 6773 6973

Udon, Udon, Udon!

imageDespite that we just had an ‘Udon‘ lunch this week one of my colleagues suggested to take advantage of the fact that he had a car and make another trip to ‘Megumi’, one of his favorites. It was a sunny Friday and the last time we went it tasted great so it wasn’t really too difficult to convince me.

I really liked the ‘Beef Udon‘ the last time but forced myself trying something new so I ordered the ‘Curry Udon‘ instead. The bowl was huge and filled up to the top with noodles, vegetables and meat. The curry broth was more liquid then I the ones I know but therefore also felt lighter than the normal thicker gravy. It had this really deep curry taste with a light spicy kick that did get stronger the further I emptied the bowl. The noodles here are thinner than at most places which makes them a bit easier to eat but unfortunately also were a bit softer than I would have liked. I was happy to find two slices of softly cooked pork belly in there which I prefer heaps over the more common chashu and what was also nice were the big chunks of carrot, the greens and bamboo shoots. The one thing I didn’t like was the kamaboko or Japanese fish cake but I never really liked any sort of fish cake anyway.

imageOn the side we ordered the ‘Saiko Beef‘ which was lovely tender and juicy and came together with a delicate dipping jus that tasted like strong beef stock mixed with a high quality soya sauce. The fresh crunchy salad aside was a nice change in between and tasted similarly nice dipped into the jus which I’m quite sure was not meant to be for that.

imageOne more side dish was the ‘UFO Maki‘ that had a center of cooked salmon rolled up in a thin cover of super crispy fried salmon skin. It tasted very fresh, the salmon was nice and buttery and the crunchy layer in between gave it all a special taste and a more diversified texture.

Still a nice no thrills place with a good selection of tasty dished but also still in a rather off location if you don’t have a car.

http://megumijapanese.com.sg/

Megumi Japanese Restaurant
Block 106 Clementi Street 12
#01-64
Singapore 120106

Oops I Did It Again!

imageAs long as the new Jem Mall didn’t manage to open up it’s doors we were stuck with our usual choices  so it was time for another lunch visit at ‘Tsuru-koshi’. I initially wanted the cold ‘Zaru Udon‘ but then, I already had something similar at ‘Tamoya‘ on Sundays, so i quickly reconsidered and ordered the ‘Kamatama Udon‘.

This is a pretty simple dish, just hot udon sprinkled with spring onion and topped with a very soft poached egg and a cube of butter. After properly mixing all these ingredients I started slurping down my noodles loudly. I didn’t care my colleagues making fun about the noises I made because this actually tasted pretty awesome. Soft boiled egg is always a bit weird at first but it worked fantastic together with the melted butter and reminded me of the good times I just put butter on everything.

This place is slowely starting to grow on me and even that I still prefer ‘Tamoya‘ to this but appreciate having an udon shop so close to my work with a a big enough selection not to get bored too fast.

Tsuru-koshi Udon
Jurong East Street 21
#01-19 IMM Building
Singapore 609601

It’s Tamoya Time Again!

imageIt was one of those days again and my udon crew headed back to ‘Tamoya’ at Liang Court for another fix. I had set my mind to finally try their ‘Curry Udon‘ but since it got a bit late last night I felt more like something refreshing and spontaneously changed my mind and ordered the cold ‘Sanuki Udon‘ and added some of their newly added tempura items ‘Asparagus‘ and ‘Vegetable Croquettes‘ on top.

The noodles were lovely chewy as always and the cold soya broth tasted deluxe and was exactly what I needed, cooling and refreshing. The ‘Asparagus’ was nicely al dente but unfortunately a bit blend and tasteless. The croquette had a crisp coating with a soft nearly creamy potato-y inside which was a nice  taste and texture contrast to the cold main.

I guess in the meantime it became clear that I will come back here on a fairly regular basis to further explore their menu and maybe eventually I will end up having these delicious looking ‘Curry Udon‘.

http://tamoya.com.sg/index.html

Tamoya
177 River Valley Road
#01-11 Liang Court Shopping Center
Singapore 179303

Top Notch Sushi at Somerset

imageA friend wanted to have some sushi tonight and since we didn’t want to go to the same old place again and again we went to ‘Fukuichi’ at TripleOne Somerset which he had heard good things about. The place had a smart casual setting and we sat down at the big sushi bar in the corner.

imageWe started with an evergreen – ‘Maguro Sashimi‘ – that was beautifully fresh with a clean sweet taste. The thick slices looked brilliant; dark red in color with a marble like look and the texture was just as I like it, soft and firm.

We also ordered a nice selection of sushi – ‘Ebi‘ (Prawn), ‘Hamachi‘ (Yellow Tail), ‘Tako‘ (Octopus), ‘Unagi‘ (Eel) and ‘Aburi Toro‘ (Seared Tuna Belly).

imageThe ‘Aburi Toro‘ was a real eye opener in all presentation, texture and taste. Usually I am not such a huge fan of toro as it tends to be more difficult to chew but not this one, the charred top was warm and crusty and underneath there was a explosion of flavors that literally melted away. Fantastic.

imageThe ‘Tako‘ was super fresh and must have been massaged for a very long time as it had the perfect chewiness yet firm texture. It tasted great and was a delight to eat, another sign they really care about the quality of their food.

imageNow the ‘Hamachi‘  was a surprise as it had the same consistency as the lovely maguro and a clean and down to earth flavor.  Pure and like straight off the sea.

imageThe ‘Unagi‘ was creamy and moist and touched by a hint of  this special sweet sauce that did fit the eel perfectly.

imageTheir ‘Sake Maki‘ reminded me a little bit of the ‘Shiok Maki’ at ‘Koh’s‘. I appreciated they weren’t using as much mayonaise here but I still prefer the normal straight sushi to these “creamy” ones.

imageThe ‘Agedashi Tofi‘ tasted good but it was much firmer than I would have liked it as I have learned to love the very soft silk tofu which is often used for this dish.

imageWe also ordered a ‘Miso Eggplant‘ of which one half was spiked with prawn chunks and the other half was covered with a thick layer of miso paste. I didn’t really get the prawn part as it didn’t add any special flavor to the dish just a weird alien texture that didn’t really work for me. The prawn free half though was pretty tasty with a nice caramelization and softly baked eggplant flesh. A pinch to sweet maybe.

imageEven that we already had ordered so much, when I realized they had ‘Marlin‘ on the menu I had to try it and later I had to pad myself on the shoulder for this as it was such an awesome idea. This fish really blew me away, nicely grilled and lightly seasoned with a fantastic soya sauce, salt and pepper, nothing else and the meat tasted and felt very similar to nicely grilled tuna. I absolutely adored this and was happy about the generous portion size.

imageWe finished our decadent meal with some lovely ‘Cold Udon with Ginger & Scallions‘. They offer this dish in several variations and with different noodles and we opted for the thin udon. The texture of the noodles was springy and chewy as it’s meant to be and the mix of xo soya sauce, freshly grated ginger and the scallions tasted lovely refreshing and delicate. My liking for cold noodles is constantly increasing and this one right here was a great closer for our dinner.

imageAs full as I was after all this food as happy was I to have tried something new. This may not be the cheapest of places around but therefore surely ranks under the best sushi restaurants I have been to in Singapore. Highest quality ingredients, perfectly executed flavor combinations (except the prawn eggplant maybe), the friendly service and the fact that this place has an outdoor sake bar got ‘Fukuichi’ a red bookmark in my collection of places to return too. Amazing.

http://www.fukuichidining.com.sg/

Fukuichi Japanese Dining
111 Somerset Road
#02-11/12 TripleOne Somerset
Singapore 238164

Another Udon Lunch at IMM

imageI came back here for lunch with a friend today and going with a colleague’s recommendation I ordered the ‘Niku Udon‘ with pork.

The clear broth was actually quite nice as it had a more distinct porky flavor yet pure and simple and I really liked the chopped pieces of white onion that added a sharp taste to the whole thing. The noodles tasted nice and had a lovely bite to them. I didn’t really like the thin pork slices as they were very fatty and had a bit of a greasy flavor but overall I enjoyed my lunch here and will be back again for some other versions to try.

Tsuru-koshi Udon
Jurong East Street 21
#01-19 IMM Building
Singapore 609601

180 Degrees a Difference

imageSince my head and heart were still in Japan today I felt like ramen all over again. My friend suggested ‘Menya Musashi’ at ION and as I had the privilege to eat at their flagship store at Shinjuku recently I was pretty curious how that translated here in Singapore. When we arrived I recognized the famous sword fighter at the entrance from the noren hanging over their door in Japan and felt considerably excited.

Even that they had a ‘Black Thunder‘ spicy version on as a special I maneuvered my way around it and ordered their ‘Black Tsukemen‘ instead as dipping is just more fun. While ordering I realized that this is tonkotsu ramen other than the salty shoyu version I had in Tokyo but didn’t mind as tonkotsu is one of my favorites. Also here they offer different sized portions of noodles of up to six times the regular size without any surcharge when ordering. Double should do.

When it arrived it expectedly looked fairly different to the Shinjuku bowl. Here they are using Chashu instead of braised pork belly which didn’t look very appealing but didn’t taste too bad nor too good. Another add on in Singapore was the crispy beancurd skin which was a nice texture in between but tasted too sweet for me. Under the little mountain of chopped green onions to my surprise I found that the noodles weren’t much different to the ones I fell in love with in Japan, yellow, thick and twisted and nicely chewy. I started dipping and slurpring them through the bowl of tonkotsu broth with the black garlic oil. The taste was pretty okay and I liked especially the porky and strong garlicky flavors but what put me off a bit was the looks and consistency. It literally looked like thick dirty mud water and was a bit slimy which wasn’t too nice while eating so I decided to refrain from finishing the soup after my noodles were gone.

imageThis was more a completely new experience rather than a comparison between one brand in two countries and obviously I would always opt for the original one if I could but besides the consistency of the broth and the rather sad chashu the taste was overall not bad. I might come to try this spicy version but for my regular ramen fix I’ll probably go looking for new ventures.

http://www.menyamusashi.com.sg/

Menya Musashi Kodou                                                                                                                                           2 Orchard Turn                                                                                                                                                #B03-25 ION Orchard                                                                                                                             Singapore 238801                                                                                                                                               Tel: +65 6509 9394

The Ten Levels of Fury!

imageToday two of my colleagues invited me to join them for lunch around the corner from the office in Shinagawa Seaside. In the foodcourt at the Jusco supermarket there is a small cantine like noodle shop with some really decent ‘Tantanmen‘ – ‘Tantanmen Tenshin’ – which I had tried some years back when I was here the last time.

This shop has ten levels of spiciness for their noodles and as my colleagues warned me upfront and they took levels one and two, I didn’t dare going any further than level three which turned out to be a very smart move. Picking up my bowl from the counter I realized that it had the most drops of red chili oil swimming on the surface compared to the ones from my colleagues. Now this was nice. The creamy sesame broth was rich and thick and strong in taste and the heat, even that not overwhelmingly painful, instantly squeezed out some sweat drops from my forehead. The noodles were good but not the homemade kind and surprisingly bright yellow in color. The minced pork gave it all a nice meaty touch and some chinese greens added extra layer of texture and something cooling to the otherwise heaty pot. After I had finished everything I wondered if I should have taken it up a notch on the spice scale but my stomach proved me different by growling for the rest of the day.

imageThis is a simply shop I wish I had also close to my workplace but maybe it’s better that way as I probably would have it to often which either would drive my weighing scale through the roof or leave me with holes in my stomach whilst trying to push the levels up. BURN.

Tantanmen Tenshin        
Foodcourt Jusco Shinagawa Seaside
4-12-5Higashishinagawa
Shinagawa                        
Tokyo 140-0002                
Japan

OMO – Oh My Okonomiyaki!

1368881024354I wasn’t super hungry this evening because of my late and generous ‘Menya Musashi‘ lunch but still felt like a little something to close the day. I randomly went into the Shinagawa Front Building and when I realized that there is a ‘Okonomiyaki Kiji’ branch located on the second floor I decided to have a slightly bigger dinner than anticipated as in Singapore this seems to be impossible to get.

I decided to go less traditional and ordered a ‘Kimchi & Pickle Starter‘ and the ‘Pork & Kimchi Okonomiyaki‘. As I was sitting at the bar I could follow the action as the chefs were entertainingly preparing mine and other dishes which was particularly important because a good and thick Okonomiyaki can take around 15-20 minutes.

It looked beautiful and tasted fantastic. The big chunks of kimchi cabbage had a nice bite and heat to them and were balanced just right with the Oko-dough. Best about this though was the thick slices of pork belly on top. Whilst preparing, I was a bit worried as the pork often doesn’t get enough time on the flame but here they took their time and waited until the fat melted away and the meat transformed into crispy salty goodness. All finished with salty butter and freshly chopped green onions on top. Simple food tweaked to greatness.

1368880368661-origThe ‘Kimchi & Pickle‘ starter upfront helped me through the waiting time with it’s great tastes and different textures. The pickled radish was crunchy and cooling and the the kimchi style cabbage had a very mild taste with only a little bit of spice to it. My favorite of all was what seemed to be some kind of kimchi cabbage jerky as it was stringy and quite hard to bite and by far the most spiciest of the trio.

‘Okonomiyaki Kiji’ is a famous brand from Osaka and they sure lived up to their name. I am pretty happy to have stumbled into this shop as I didn’t have any decent Okonomiyaki in years as it just seems impossible to get a remotely good one in Singapore.  I would do it again and again and again.

http://www.o-kizi.jp/

Okonomiyaki Kiji お好み焼 きじ
Shinagawa Front Building 2F
108-0075 Konan
Minato-ku                              
Tokyo 2-3-13                        
Japan                                        
Tel: +81 3 6712 0256