Singapore’s Japanese offerings keep on growing – and we’re not complaining. From a famous kushikatsu chain to Insta-worthy salted egg yolk bowls, there’s plenty to choose from.
With over 165 outlets in Japan, Kushikatsu Tanaka certainly holds weight to it’s claim of being Japan’s favourite kushikatsu chain. Now, Singaporeans don’t need to fly to Osaka to get a taste of their specialty fried cutlet skewers and famous dipping sauce, just head on down to Clarke Quay where they’ve opened their first Asian outlet (their other overseas outlet is in Hawaii). The Singaporean outpost is small and cozy, reminiscent of a streetside izakaya along the streets of Dotonbori.
Their signature sauce and golden kushikatsu follow a secret formula created by Mr Yukichi Tanaka, who passed the well-guarded family recipe down to his daughter, Hiroe Tanaka, who co-founded Kushikatsu. Their kushikatsu panko crumb batter is crisp and light and is fried in a unique blend of oil which includes beef fat to impart a distinct flavour. Enjoy over 30 variations with their signature sauce, including their popular beef skewers, lotus root and even cookies and cream! ($1-$2.50) If you’ve tried a fried mars bar, the kushikatsu cookies and cream is like the Oreo equivalent.
The Singapore menu also offers popular Osakan street food items like Chiritori Hotpan with Risotto. There are two DIY parts to your meal – enjoy hotplate-grilled beef slices, followed by a hotpan curry cheese risotto to soak up all that delicious broth. ($18 for 2 people) The DIY action doesn’t stop there, with a DIY Takoyaki, in which you can prepare your own egg roll with ingredients like octopus and benishoga (pickled Japanese red ginger). Wash it down with your choice of a Jim Beam highball – there are over 15 variations – such as the Triple Berry Highball, Triple Citrus Highball and Aomori Ringo Highball (from $6.00). Drink like the Japanese and try your luck with dice-game Chinchirorin – win, and your drink is on the house.
3A River Valley Road, Merchants’ Court Clarke Quay Block A #01-01B
Tel: 6258 3789
Don Don Donki
If you haven’t already heard, Japan’s most popular discount store, Don Quijote is now open in Singapore! The Japanese discount hypermart is now open 24/7 at Orchard Central with an amazing range of Japanese fresh produce, snacks, alcohol, and all sorts of merchandise. Spanning two stories (in Orchard Central’s winding basement), Don Don Donki boasts an extensive range of Hokkaido imports, as well as live food stalls serving Hokkaido milk gelato, deli bentos, and fresh Japanese sweets. Check out more here!
Basement 1 & 2, Orchard Central. Tel: 6443 8556
Japan Foods Garden
Our very own Japanese food enclave is back with a new menu. Tucked away in the basement of Shaw Centre, Japan Food Gardens is now doling out sizzling bowls, and a brand-new teppan range with steak and seafood choices as well. Choose from the Curry ($7.80) or Oyako ($8.80) dons, and top up with sides like cheese and chicken cutlets for a satisfying meal. We loved their signature Lemon Steak ($18.80) from their Gyutetsu stall. In true Teppanyaki fashion, diners are treated to a mouth-watering show as the chef shows off his teppanyaki skills to prepare the US Angus Beef steak in front of your very eyes. The premium steak is seared to tender perfection on the flat iron griddle and served to your plate with a drizzle of an invigorating, zesty house citrus sauce to cut through the richness. If meat isn’t your thing, indulge in the Prawn Duo ($12.80) and Oyster Trio ($16.80), of which the latter features three fresh oysters topped with glazed mentaiko, a house-made butter seaweed and shoyu garlic chips.
#B1-01, Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road
J-Treats Arrival at 7-Eleven
Can’t get enough of Japan’s unique and kawaii snacks but want to avoid the crushing crowds that fill Don Don Donki? You’ll be happy to know that 7-11 has brought to our shores another J-Treats Arrival this month. From now till January 2018, an extensive gamut of 15 of Japan’s favourite snacks are available at selected 7-Eleven stores island-wide. You’ll be spoilt for choice with strawberry yogurt chewy candies, cocoa cream crepe wafers, and smooth mini jellies made with yuzu or apple concentrate.
They carry savoury goodies as well, like miniature French consomme-flavoured potato chips, and jumbo-sized ramen available in both miso and shoyu flavours for your late-night snack sessions. You can also look forward to interactive games and sampling sessions taking place at the stores on the weekend. Unleash your ninja skills in the Cash Flow machine, and catch as many airbourne vouchers as you can within a minute. Exchange your vouchers for free J-treats or adorable 7-Eleven collectible plushies. Excited? Catch these colourful goodies before they make their way back to Japan!
Check out facebook.com/JTreatsArrival for more updates.
Can’t get enough of salted egg yolk? Don Meijin offers a golden salted egg tendon ($16) that is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. It’s fried food galore with many crispy items such as prawns, chicken fillet, green beans, sliced pumpkin, crabsticks and more in one bowl. We liked how the soft onsen egg blends everything together, and the side of homemade salted egg yolk sauce that’s made with curry leaves, salted duck egg yolk and evaporated milk. Available at all three Don Meijin outlets, including Ramen Champion and Changi Airport Terminal 3.
#04-10 Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street. Tel: 6238 1011
Do a quick search for the go-to place for okonomiyaki (Japanese grilled cabbage pancakes) in Dotonbori, Osaka and Tsuruhashi Fugetsu pops up immediately. They have obviously found a fan within airline operator ANA, as this moreish dish is served on business and first class flights. The Mix Modan ($21) sets a new standard for okonomiyaki in Singapore. Skillful chefs magically transform otherwise simple ingredients – cabbage, egg noodles, meat and seafood – into a mouth-watering centerpiece of Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise and dancing bonito flakes, served on a hotplate. The crisp, slightly charred, outer crust is the perfect contrast to the delicious mess of noodles, meat and sauce in the middle. Unpretentious comfort food at its best.
Japan Gourmet Food Hall SORA, Changi Airport Terminal 2
Nestled in the basement of Tanjong Pagar Centre, Happy Don dishes out quick, authentic Japanese eats without burning a hole in your wallet. With take-away bento sets aplenty, nine-to-fivers around the area can easily grab ahold of a quick lunch (or dinner – they close at 10pm). Get some of their signature items to spice up your mid-day mealtime. Order a Spicy Chashu Don topped off with half a soft-boiled egg, and have a crispy Ebi Fry on the side. For a fancier starter, choose the Hiyayako. Coated in black sesame sauce with a generous sprinkling of bonito flakes and sesame seeds, the chilled silken tofu is not one to be missed. Who says takeaway office lunches have to be boring?
#B2-19 1 Wallich Street, Tanjong Pagar Centre