Japanese Oishii!

Japanese Oishii!

Ranging from the "yay-it's-payday" to the "can-indulge-on-a-budget" cost brackets, here are Japanese dishes I've tried and liked.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

We were smitten at first sight and bite by the Beef Katsu Omu-Rice. At $26.50++, this NEW dish is oishii-ness at superb value.
Presented in a pan is a thick slab of deepfried beef cutlet served with rice blanketed in a large, silky and runny-soft omelette, with a mildly spicy Japanese curry alongside. At the table, the staff stirs the slightly sweet, warm creamy cheese sauce before pouring it over the curry and beef. Terrifically tasty and deeply satisfying - we won’t hesitate to return for.

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Entering @oshinosg is like stepping into hallowed grounds. Their blink-and-you’ll-miss-it doorway tucked in a discreet corner of Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade belies the world beyond it - a sushi sanctuary for want of better words. The dining experience is beautiful and quite otherworldly, to say the least. My friend Vijay and I went for the Chef’s Omakase ($500++ per pax) that night and Chef-owner @k.oshino served us a goblet of Shijimi freshwater clams soup to warm our bellies before launching straight into what he is most revered for, his sushi.
A shockingly refined piece of Hirame (flounder) led the way. It had me gasping but before I could catch my breath, a Yellowjack came along and left me equally shook.
Chef Oshino then placed an elegant stand bearing Shiro Ebi (white shrimp) with Caviar, Aka Uni from Kyushu and Bafun Uni from Hokkaido in front of the each of us. I savoured that trio in quiet bliss.
Ika (squid) generally leaves me cold, but the white beauty I was presented with, dressed understatedly in salt and Japanese lime, had me longing for more.
A most astonishing Kinmedai came after, before the first streak of silver of the evening, a Kohada, arrived. I made both vanish in a flash.
Then, temperatures shifted with the arrival of a Hokkaido Hairy Crab baked with miso - I adored how the savouriness heightened the crustacean’s sweetness.
A school of “Glass Fish” from Hokkaido swam up next. Soft and slippery, they tasted of seaweed to me but like Vijay noticed, with a bitter finish.
The sushi continued with a stellar Sawara (Spanish mackerel) before another silver-scaled piece struck again - it was a delectably strong Iwashi (sardine) that bounced me up to cloud nine.
The following course consisted of Pen Shell, Ark Shell, Japanese Barracuda, very deliciously dressed Saury and Chutoro, and was as indulgent as it was divine.
One of my top three sushi from the meal was served at this point - the Aji (horse mackerel). I was so eager to eat it, I actually forgot to take a photo! Shocking, right? 😂
Anyway, sailing in after that momentary booboo was a fantastic Uni Gunkan, in all its cold, creamy magnificence.
Autumn’s gorgeous colours were captured in the triple threat of Oyster, Abalone and Ankimo (monkfish liver). Premium ingredients exactingly prepared to ensure immense satisfaction.
Moments later came the Shimofuri, a choice cut of the fatty tuna belly which melted in the mouth like I knew it would.
Topped with yuzu zest, Chef @k.oshino’s marinated tuna retained the texture of fish flesh and was not as smooth as other versions I’ve tried. Not saying which is better - just appreciating their differences 😋.
The Kawahagi (Leatherjacket) boasted the best accessory - its own liver. Suffice to say, we swooned over this.
Straight from the fryer flew the Matsutake Mushroom and ginkgo nuts. They were piping hot and tasty.
For our palate cleanser, we each received a fresh Japanese Gooseberry to munch. How clever and perfect, is it not?
Then, a mini ricebowl with Ikura so fresh, my teeth felt like they were popping bubble wrap! The confetti of yuzu zest was a brilliant touch.
I was blindsided by the Scallop sushi. Wow, wow, wow - truly bowled over by the mouthfeel and taste it delivered.
The sweet and springy-fleshed Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Tiger Prawn) in the second mini ricebowl was absolutely delicious as well.
Proving yet again its ability to stop conversations was the beguilingly smoky and oily-rich Nodoguro, the last piece of sushi in Chef’s Omakase.
Our final savoury course though was a superb Tuna Cheek Shabu Shabu served with ponzu and yuzu kosho. Although it looked clean and clear, the soup had remarkable depth and flavour thanks to the fattiness of the fish. I couldn’t get enough of this!
Tamago - the edible punctuation that’s dropped in before dessert at such meals, showed up right on time. Chef’s version was bold in savouriness with a hint of sweet.
We finished with seasonal fruit from Japan. My favourite was the melon which came in a heftier wedge than the usual.


Watching Chef-owner @chaijeffery1109 at work is captivating as he moves smoothly with an easy confident precision. And each skewered item that comes off his Wakayama Kishu Binchotan grill is so breathtakingly perfect, every first bite will leave you gasping in wonder.
Before I go on, I should mention that reservations at @kaiyakitorisg are impossible to secure unless you know a regular customer who decides to invite you along (so yes, I owe Christopher @eechong and @cordeliahan a huge thank you for giving @huatkaliao and I their spare 2-pax slot).
Ordering alcohol is a must here and even though I can’t drink much, I have to admit Yakitori and alcohol is a match made in gastronomic heaven. We shared a wonderful bottle of Sake but I was told they do super legit Highballs too, so those are on my wishlist now.
As this was our first ever visit, I did go a bit mad with the ordering (and this was on top of the items Christopher had already chosen for us). So for the record, here’s a recap of what stretched our bellies:

1. Steamed Japanese Pumpkin - The complimentary appetiser warmed our bellies nicely with its gently sweet softness.
2. Seasonal Vegetable - Because I can never get enough of corn, it was imperative for us to have the Yellow and White Corn. No regrets - they were ridiculously juicy and sweet.
3. Japanese Tofu - Lightly grilled, the slightly firm beancurd was a lovely nibble.
4. Avocado and Smoked Chicken with Baguette ($12) - This left my jaw on the floor. I couldn’t and still can’t, fathom how much smokiness and flavour existed in the unassuming pale green mess.
5. Soriresu or Chicken Oyster ($6.50) - We each had one of the pair of oyster-shaped dark meat flanking the backbone of the chicken. Sensuously smooth, tender and oh-so-juicy, Chef Jeffrey’s grilling ensured the skin was unbelievably crisp as well. We were amply rewarded when we followed the instructions to pop the whole thing into our mouths to maximise the pleasure.
6. Chicken Thigh and Scallions - I’ve never eaten this yakitori elsewhere that can rival the exquisiteness of theirs.
7. Wings - Plump and golden-brown, the crispy-skinned mid-joints had me craving for seconds but I held back, knowing even more exciting stuff was coming.
8. Hearts - These were hands-down, the juiciest and most tenderly cooked of the chicken’s organ I’ve ever eaten.
9. Bonjiri (Tails) - How a piece of springy flesh where a chicken’s tail-feathers spring from can become so fantastically delicious in Chef @chaijeffery1109’s hands is beyond me. I fell truly, madly, deeply in love and had to get a second round later.
10. Japanese Zucchini - I do adore grilled vegetables and this turned out stellar.
11. Cherry Tomatoes - The trio gushed under the lightest pressure. Exactly how I love my tomatoes.
12. Eringi - Smoky and meaty, the King Oyster Mushrooms were yums.
13. Quail’s Eggs ($6.50) - Lava-like, these piping hot babies were luscious in the middle.
14. Tsukune - Theirs is a looser-packed but highly textural giant meatball which is so pure in tastiness, it doesn’t need the usual side of egg yolk for dipping.
15. Kawa (Skin) - Chef Roy did a little trick of fanning the skewers after they were grilled. It’s suppose to help the remaining oil and moisture to evaporate, and thus, dry the pieces of skin more and render them extra crispy. I can vouch for the effectiveness.
16. Ramen Awase ($10) - My closing carb was a special bowl of noodles in a white chicken soup so decadently rich, it left my lips sticky. I loved it with a smidgen of yuzu kosho mixed in. Christopher’s Oyako Don looked really mouthwatering too - I’ll have to get that on my next visit.
17. Sasami (Chicken Fillet) - Chef-owner Jeffrey grilled the meat until they were only about 30% cooked, so the pretty pink chunks were velvety soft and yielding. Remarkable!

I am sure besides Chef Jeffery’s expert technique and experience, the very expensive Japanese Binchotan he uses at Kai Yakitori contributes significantly to the superior quality and taste of the food. When I examined it closely, it felt very clean to the touch (no reside was left anywhere) and had a metallic sound when I hit one piece against another.
Thank you so much again for spoiling us with your elevated art of Yakitori, Chef. This is a dinner I will be raving about for a long time to come.


So far, my favourite discovery for takeaway during this lockdown is @yakiniquest - a Japanese Yakiniku restaurant that has been on my wishlist for more than a year, ever since @taro.chef of Takayama told me he loves dining there.
I ordered dinner from them last Thursday for my whole family and everyone was just as enamoured by the quality and taste of their food even with the time it took for me to transport the bags home (I couldn’t resist the 20% discount for self pick-ups!).
All the meats in the bento boxes were exquisitely delicious as they were handgrilled only upon order and presented on a bed of Japanese Koshihikari rice. The side dishes were impeccably executed as well. Below is the list of what we enjoyed, and let me just add, ladyboss Tomoko-san and her team did an amazing job of packing everything into paper bags decorated with hand-drawn drawings and messages of heartfelt thanks.

1. Negi Tongue Bento ($29) - From first bite, I was floating on cloud nine because the slices of premium Wagyu beef tongue were gently springy and deeply flavourful. What’s more, smothered over them was a truckload of insanely fragrant Japanese leek marinated in salt, pepper and sesame oil. Highly, highly recommended if you are a fan of beef tongue.
3. Wagyu Premium Lean Meat "AKAMI" Bento ($29) - Because @taro.chef had shared this was one of his favourites, of course I had to include it. And yes, it was as much a mind-blower in its own way. Buttery-soft and rich in flavour, the slices of hand-grilled, sesame seeds-scattered Wagyu were a decent thickness and boasted a mouthwatering smoky, subtle sweetness.
4. Yakiniku Bento ($18) - Value-for-money option with strips of soy-based sauce-simmered Wagyu Short Rib heaped on the rice. It wasn’t as “sauce-y” as I’d expected, so I’d say choose this only if you are drawn to a drier style of Yakiniku.
5. Charcoal-grilled Tenderloin or “Hire” ($62) - On the pricier end was the premium cut of Japanese Wagyu. Limited in quantity, the prized beef came in large, thick slices for a luxurious mouthfeel. I was compelled to chew each piece ever so slowly with my eyes closed.
6. Miyazaki Wagyu Roast Beef ($38) - The fabulously silky-soft slices of gorgeous meat slipped down my throat in the most pleasurable manner. By the way, you can have this as a Gyudon with Japanese Koshihikari rice if you wish.
7. Wagyu Egg Omelette ($15) - Stunningly fluffy and gushing with dashi, the fat and slightly flattened bolster of oishii-ness was filled with tender Miyazaki Wagyu. Definitely an add-on not to be missed.
8. Beef Stew ($20) - A popular dish that’s been on @yakiniquest’s menu since they opened, it comprised of irregular pieces of beef simmered till tender in a sweetish sauce with radish and onions. I enjoyed it a lot, especially after throwing on the fresh Japanese leeks and spicy chilli powder that were packed alongside.

To place an order from @yakiniquest, please tap on their link-in-bio on Instagram.

Hand on my heart, my jaw met the floor when I saw the meal Chef-owner @topdoghatch and @eatmefabulous had arranged for delivery. It was without question, a spread of stupendous presentation, taste and quality. Not only did it showcase the best of seasonal Japanese produce but also the skills of the talented team at @hashida.sg.
The Chirashi ($150) and Futomaki ($130) were heavyweights in every sense of the word as they practically burst with the top-notch seafood and other ingredients.
Packed neatly in an all-natural box, the former held chunky cuts of incredibly fresh sea bream, amberjack, chutoro, anago and cooked prawns. On them were uni and ikura galore. Crunchy kampyo, cucumber and some sweetish braised shiitake mushrooms joined the party on the bed of deliciously seasoned rice as well. Every bite was unadulterated pleasure.
So too it was with the fantastic fat bolster of Futomaki that strained at its seaweed seams with the goodness of chutoro, steamed uni, seabream, anago, amberjack, prawns, denbu, tamagoyaki, shiitake mushrooms, kampyo, cucumber, mistsuba leaf (Japanese parsley) and sesame seeds. Super oishii!


What a privilege to be sent the Ozaki Wagyu “Sameer Special” Curry Rice by none other than the man himself. Clearly a possessor of the most discerning taste, @sameer.sain’s namesake one-dish-meal was nothing short of swoon-worthiness.
In the luscious curry of mild spiciness were large pieces of fork-tender @ozakibeef. Now, this is a Wagyu of a different league as the Japanese Black Cattle are bred and raised on a farm owned and managed by Mr. Muhenaru Ozaki in Miyazaki Prefecture. He employs only the most advanced techniques, such as giving his cattle a special feed made from 13 kinds of grains and avoiding use of antibiotics and steroids. He also raises them well beyond the average age to allow richer flavour to develop in the meat and greater evenness in fat distribution.
To complement the fragrant #OzakiWagyu Beef Curry, Chef-owner @nobu_hiro added a croquette and some burdock root pickles, both of which were lovely.
The simple looking Sugar Sticks proved a terrific sweet ending. Coated in ultra fine sugar, they had a firm crunchiness and a surprising richness. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fried in beef fat 😋

Thanks so much again for the amazing surprise, Sameer.

It was love at first bite for me when I had a plate of @chef_y.doi_bistrot’s Red Wine Beef Tongue Curry Rice at @bistrotetroit. And that was AFTER gobbling up a multi-course dinner of fine French fare also prepared by him. Am thankful he decided to offer it as a takeaway item during this period when dining-in is put on hold.
Priced at $30, the portion is decent in size. More importantly, it travels well and tastes as fabulous as I recall. The red wine curry with its “secret ingredient” of coffee powder, has a slightly thick consistency that boasts a lovely nuance and subtle heat. Those tender chunks of beef tongue are pleasantly soft chew and deeply flavourful (I felt compelled to close my eyes as I slowly relished each piece). Providing an ideal cut-through, crunchy purple slaw with a modulated acidity.

Verdict: This is one of those one-dish meals that looks plain but can knock your socks off.

If you want to order, do note Chef Doi is sold out until this Saturday, 29th May. He is able to accept orders for after that date. To submit yours, please Whatsapp 8869 8477. It must be done in the following format:


My curiousity was piqued by the name: “Cold Soupless Dan Dan Noodles” but it wasn’t at all what we expected.
While @heyrozz picked up the scent of licorice and my niece @linosaur tasted sweetness in the noodles, I was surprised by the absence of a creamy nut-based sauce which I thought was the fundamental of Dan Dan Noodles.
Nonetheless, it was quite fragrant overall and I didn’t mind the touch of “mala” spiciness. Plentiful fresh coriander and bits of chicken meat contributed extra flavour.


On our recent ladies night, @heyrozz, @linosaur and I managed to cut quite a swathe through @yatagarasu72’s menu, ending with a respectable 24 skewers, and this is on top of the food that didn’t come on skewers. Frankly, everything at this Japanese izakaya is so tasty, I could have kept on going but fortunately, sensibility prevailed.
We started with an appetiser of Seasonal Bamboo Shoot ($3.30) that packed a lovely succulent crunch. And because we are such fiends for coriander, two bowls of Coriander Salad ($6.50 each) with different dressings of a light Japanese ponzu sauce and creamy Sesame (my preferred) were necessary.
Being a greedy bunch, we practiced a no-sharing policy, so nearly every grilled-food-on-stick item was ordered in threes. They included:
* Pork Belly with Snap Garden Peas ($3.85 each) - Loved the contrast between the perky veg and smoky, salty meat.
* Pork Belly with Shiso ($3.85 each) - Still my favourite thing here, and that night’s was extra juicy and tasty. Lin and I couldn’t resist seconds.
* Chicken Fillet ($2.75 each) - I learnt from Roz that @iamjaynedoe had introduced @yatagarasu72 to her and this was a favourite of Jayne’s. The pale-coloured, very tender chicken which came dotted with yuzu kosho, was different from the grilled items as it tasted much cleaner. If you’re ordering this, I’d recommend eating it first so as to better appreciate its lighter flavour profile.
* Chicken Hearts and Chicken Liver ($2.75 each) - Only Lin and I went for these “spare parts”. Both were grilled perfectly but the skewer of chicken hearts was the one that stole ours.
* Pork Belly with Asparagus ($3.85 each) - It is impossible for me to walk into a Yakitori place and not order this because asparagus and pork belly is a tried and tested success.
* Grilled Chicken Wings - They do it really well here. I wouldn’t have minded a few more - haha.
* Pork Belly with Spring Onions - Decent but not something I’d repeat.
* Pork Belly with Yakisoba / Fried Noodles ($6.60) - Embellished in mayo and a tangy sauce (the kind you get with your Tonkatsu), this was interesting for want of a better word. But not an item I’d have again either.
* Grilled Onigiri ($7.70 each) - The triangles of pressed rice were tastier than I’d imagined plus they were accompanied by a wasabi-seasoned miso and pickles.


My second visit to @singapore_enishi was with first-timers @liltune and @lannybudiman. I had been dreaming of this eatery’s ferociously tasty, award-winning noodles ever since I slurped it up earlier this month. As hard as it is to believe, I was even more blown away by the noodles this time around! Reasons being I opted for the “extra spicy” version (the hotness was actually really manageable) plus I knew the importance of taking my time to mix everything in the bowl extremely thoroughly before eating (please don’t neglect this step as it makes a big difference). The outcome was shockingly mouthwatering with the creamy sauce (it’s made using cashew nuts and sesame) and all the other seasonings blending together seamlessly, to coat every surface area of the thick “meepok”-like noodles and the toppings of minced pork, tender smoked duck, torched cubes of juicy chashu, raw and fried Japanese onions, fresh mizuna and pickles. When I’d gobbled up the noodles, I requested for a portion of rice (it’s free!) to throw in. Those fluffy grains were the perfect vehicle to mop up whatever leftover sauce there was. Fantastic! 😋😋😋

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After learning that @singapore_enishi is Chef Ashino’s (@ashino_at_chijmes_) favourite ramen joint, I was eager to try it.
This nook of an eatery with an L-shaped counter on level two of International Plaza is the first local branch of the MICHELIN Bib Gourmand-awarded ramen restaurant in Kobe, Japan. There are only two noodles on their menu - a signature Dashi Ramen (Chef Ashino’s go-to) and a Dan-Dan Ramen that I swear, beats every other Dan-Dan I’ve ever eaten, flat!
All ingredients used at Enishi is imported from Japan, which is the reason for the fixed number of 100 servings per day (#yousnoozeyoulose). Hence, I made sure we were standing outside the little restaurant at 5.50pm the evening of our first visit.
Custom-made to their specifications, Enishi’s noodles are gluten-free and resemble a thicker version of “mee pok”. The buckwheat in it creates a rougher surface that helps the sauce to grip better. And what a sauce it is! A mouthwatering amalgamation of creamy sesame sauce with assorted condiments, it is thick, rich and very fragrant. I watched as Chef mix the noodles with it, taking care to ensure very even distribution, so each strand was well coated.
Blanketing all of it was a generous amount of chashu and smoked duck cut into cubes, minced pork, chunks of raw white onions (FYI - these are about ten times the price of onions found locally), fresh mizuna, fried onions and Japanese purple pickles. On the side, a soft-boiled egg destined to join the noodles, plus a bowl of dashi-based soup. Another thing I love about Enishi’s Dan Dan Noodles is the three types of vinegar in kelp, orange and spicy variants, that you can splash on to your heart’s content.
Whichever item you pick, a printed guide is given to you. On it are step-by-step instructions on how to get the most enjoyment out of your order.
As light as it appears, @singapore_enishi’s dashi-based ramen more than held its own in terms of flavour too. The MSG-free savoury soup was not heavy but beautifully complex and it had a lift from a lilting note of yuzu. This would be perfect if you are in the mood for something soupy.


Initially, @vk_pillai had suggested sushi for our dinner but I’m glad he changed it to Shabu Shabu Gen when he observed that I hadn’t visited any shabu shabu place of late. It worked out perfectly because despite hearing so much about this Japanese restaurant at Shaw Centre, I had never been.
Cosy and quiet, the restaurant is dimly-lot, elegant and comfortable. I think it is most ideal for dates or meals with family and close friends. The quality of the food is unquestionably supreme. Vijay did the ordering for us and spoiled T.H. and I with platters of premium Wagyu and Pork Belly to cook in the hotpot of fish-based broth. He and his wife don’t consume beef so they had different cuts of pork. What got me really excited was the variety of dipping sauces. There were three, one with ponzu, another with lemon juice and last but not least, a goma (creamy sesame). To customise these, grated radish and spring onions were provided for the former two, and finely-minced raw garlic and chilli oil, for the sesame sauce. I had a lot of fun trying out the different meats with every one.
After we had eaten our fill of the incredible beef and pork, our server cooked a truckload of mixed vegetables and mushrooms in the hotpot for us to enjoy. We were meant to finish with ramen but because it was decided on the spur of the moment to go elsewhere for dessert, that got cancelled. I am sure it would have been a wonderful way to end the already fantastic dinner.

Thanks so much again, Vijay and Valerie, for the marvelous meal and a really fun evening.


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