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Featuring Tanuki Raw (Orchard Central), Wheeler's Yard, Timbre+, Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, Grilllo, Manzoku, Kanshoku Ramen Bar (Orchard Gateway), Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant, Sun with Moon Japanese Dining & Café, Kinsa Sushi
Marc T.
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Hokkaido Soup Curry

Diners can now enjoy both soup and curry dishes in the same bowl at the first Japanese soup curry specialty here in Singapore! Located in the new OUE Downtown skyscraper complex, featured here are the Ocean Trophy (Tomato soup base), Hungry Bear (Wafu), Oink Oink (Coconut), and Cheesy Bear (Coconut).

The spice level is customisable in 3 categories – Baby Bear (Levels 0-5), Adult Bear (8-15), and Crazy Bear (18-30). I went for Level 15 and managed to finish my Ocean Trophy without sipping any of the iced green tea. We were also given 4 flavours of the soup curry to choose from – Coconut, Tomato, Wafu, and Shrimp. Go for the first 2 with stronger flavours which we really enjoyed!

📷: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, courtesy of Canon Singapore.

Tonkotsu Ramen

5 munchies: Known as one of the world's best ramen joints, I never fail to get a bowl of Ichiran Ramen even when the waiting line could go for 30 mins during off-peak hours. Here's what I love about the ramen that is available 24/7:

• Flavour of the pork-based tonkotsu soup was absolutely smashing – savoury, milky rich with a smooth consistency
• Texture of the house-made noodles was springy & firm to the bite
• The spicy kick from Ichiran's original red pepper sauce complemented the rich broth perfectly.
• The sliced pork was well-marinated and had a good amount of fat.
• All elements are customisable – flavour strength and richness of the broth, amount of red sauce, texture of the noodles, as well as other add-ons.

Has anyone eaten it in both Japan and Hong Kong? Is there any difference in terms of taste?

Four-Cheese Soft Cream

4 munchies: Featuring a decadent blend of two types of Italian cheese (aged 14 & 24 months), one French cheese, and lastly one Japanese cheese, all four cheeses have been painstakingly melted down with no artificial flavouring or powdered cheese added. The sweet-savoury soft cream is also made with Hokkaido 3.6 Milk, which boasts a distinct smoothness and sweet smell of vanilla. It was so creamy and surprisingly light, making it a perfect treat for the sweltering heat in Hong Kong!

The Four-Cheese Soft Cream is available at both Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay outlets.

📷: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, courtesy of Canon Singapore.

Chirashi Don

4.5 munchies: One of the two places I go to for excellent chirashi don (the other being Chikuwatei by the same Yoi Group), I absolutely loved how thick and fresh the slices of salmon, tuna, swordfish, and amberjack were. Special mention is given to the swordfish for its meatiness and juiciness. The rice was beautifully seasoned with the distinct flavour of vinegar. It also comes with two slices of sweet, moist tamagoyaki and loads of ikura topping! #Burpproved

Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice

4.5 munchies: Made with 12 ingredients including Chef Kosuke's homemade chilli mix, shallot, garlic, eggs, and shrimp, the wok hei-infused fried rice had such a fiery kick that's sure to satisfy the palates of Singaporeans! Every grain of the rice was fried evenly – no clumps of rice were found. It was unanimously the stand-out dish of the night. Oh, we even ordered and polished off the second bowl!

The Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice is part of Machida Shoten's brand new menu, available from 1 May 2017 onwards. #Burpproved

Kuro-Obi

3.5 munchies: Not usually a fan of chicken soup base for my ramen, but the tori-taipan served at KURO-OBI was rich yet not overpowering. The noodles used here are slightly thicker and more springy – best slurped with all the delicate broth! It also comes with three slices of slow-cooked chicken chashu and a halved marinated soft-boiled egg. All ramen dishes served at this quick-service ramen bar are customisable – from texture of the noodles to stock richness and condiment add-ons.

KURO-OBI Singapore is IPPUDO's only concept in the world to offer 100% chicken broth. It is also the first overseas foray outside of New York City.

Spanish Mackerel

4 munchies: With no menu available at this 12-seater restaurant, I picked the Spanish mackerel for my ichiju-sansai (一汁三菜; a traditional Japanese meal of one soup and three side dishes) offering. It comes with a bowl of miso soup infused with fennel and spring onion, crunchy greens, and a baked omelette.

Roasted in the convection oven with nothing but salt, the flaky yet firm texture of the Spanish mackerel had a perfect bite each time. The bonito-flake topping for the seven-grain rice was also my absolute favourite – saturated with the classic Japanese sake, mirin and soy.

All ingredients at OKONOMI are either cooked in hot water or torched and roasted without the use of butter and oil. Ichiju-sansai is served only during breakfast and lunch from 9am to 3pm. #munchinginNY

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

4.5 munchies: Deep-fried chicken cutlet sandwiched in buns that are freshly made daily by Boulangerie ASANOYA. Spread with tartar and spicy Namban sauce, what really amazed us was how the chicken remained so crispy and juicy even after 20 minutes of shooting!

The sandwich comes with light and crispy potato wedges as well as a bowl of rich, comforting broth made using the proportion of 70% pork and 30% chicken served at the side. Loaded with broccoli and sliced onions, bonito flakes were also added in the boiling process to give the umami taste.

I'm definitely going back for more! #Burpproved

Kaisen Avocado Don

3.5 munchies: Fresh salmon sashimi, plump Aomori scallops, ikura, avocado, and diced cucumber served on a bed of fluffy Japanese rice. Unlike other seafood rice bowls available here in Singapore, the kaisen don served at JAPAN RAIL CAFE comes with a light broth for diners to make their own ochazuke (お茶漬け) by pouring the soup into the remaining rice bowl – an ultimate comfort food for the Japanese!

Powered by East Japan Railway Company, the travel-themed cafe is located on the ground floor of the new Tanjong Pagar Centre.

Miso Pork Belly Rice Bowl

2 munchies: Expectations were set high (especially for a pork lover like me) when the miso-marinated pork belly was brined for 3 days and cooked in sous vide to retain its moisture. Unfortunately, the meat was dry and a tad rubbery; kimchi also lacked moisture and the spicy-sour kick. The perfectly cooked onsen egg with black sesame was the only thing I enjoyed about this dish.

This was a hosted meal by Wheeler's Yard.

Uji Matcha & Shincha Soft Serve

4.5 munchies: Last 3 days to get your hands on this absolutely delish Uji Matcha & Shincha Mix Swirl Soft Serve from Tsujirihei-Honten! Just when I thought the matcha was already intensely bittersweet, the flavour of shincha (新茶 – the first month's harvest of sencha) was even more intense and bitter! This is perfect for matcha purists like me.

Tsujirihei-Honten is part of the Japan Autumn Fair at Takashimaya Food Hall, available until 15 September 2016.

Sake Food Pairing

Food and drink enthusiasts would be thrilled to find 5 informative workshops at the OC Food Festival. From chocolate to extra virgin oil and balsamic vinegar appreciation, I had a great time particularly at the sake food pairing workshop!

[Left to Right]

1. Sake & Butter-Steamed Japanese Clam paired with the refreshingly elegant Honjozo Yamadanishiki, also known as the "King of Sake Rice".

2. Grilled Jumbo Scallop paired with the Junmai Daiginjo that has a nice influenza tea ginjo fragrance.

3. Miso-Glazed Eggplant paired with the more refined, fragrant and intricate Junmai Nigori.

Located on the ground floor of Orchard Central, the OC Food Festival is ongoing till 14 August 2016. Email your details and preferred workshop to [email protected] should you wish to participate.

This was a hosted event by Orchard Central; many thanks to Whistler Wine & Spirits for conducting the Sake Food Pairing Workshop and Saffron Communications for the invitation!

About Marc T.
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Featuring bite-sized reviews of munchies worth munching on.

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