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Tag: Japanese

A delayed birthday treat at Nirai Kanai Okinawan

The birthday was in November. The treat was in January. And now I am finally writing about it.

For the past few years, my friend, S will give me a birthday treat (together with another friend, G whose birthday is quite close to mine). Last year, I selected Nirai Kanai Okinawan. It was quite a feat finding the right place. S is allergic to seafood, and G doesn’t fancy fried food (yah I wondered why I am friends with her). After some good old googling, I found Nirai Kanai.

Located at the basement corner of Liang Court, Nirai Kanai Okinawan is an old school styled restaurant. The décor, in my opinion, is charming and adorable. The moment you step in, it is as if you have entered into a Japanese restaurant in the 1980s. And they are very considerate too. There are hooks and hangers for you to hang your jacket, and they built shelves underneath each table where you can place your bags.

We ordered quite a lot of food as we were hungry and greedy. I wanted the crispy river shrimps as they were my favourite beer snack. Though I did not drink that night, this little titbit is salty and crunchy, and best eaten when warm. The waiter placed the plate of fried shrimps in front of me, I had to push it aside as I cannot stop eating them.

One of Okinawa’s signature dishes is goya chanpuru. It is essentially thinly sliced bitter gourd with tofu, egg and pork. Nirai Kanai version was clean and well-seasoned. I would be quite content if you give me a bowl of rice and a plate of goya chanpuru.

Another favourite of mine was cubed beef steak. There was nothing fancy about this dish – good quality beef topped with garlic chips and stir-fried beansprouts. The beef was cooked to medium which was how I like it. This dish needed to be eaten fast as it was served on a hot plate which cooked the beef.

With all these food, we needed rice to accompany them. I ordered the onigiri. Unlike the conventional rice ball where the core ingredient is stuffed in the middle, the onigiri was made up of mixed rice with mushroom, pork belly and seaweed. The rice was well-cooked and flavourful. We also ordered a pork belly dish (which I never tried but my friends said it was good), and fried chicken (which was also pretty decent but nothing extraordinary). We were pretty stuffed after this meal.

Okinawan cuisine is said to be influenced by the Chinese and South East Asian. More importantly, this particular cuisine is low in fat and salt, contributing to the longevity of the Okinawans. Though I am unsure if the dishes we ordered were low fat and low salt, they were simple and delicious.

Nirai Kanai Okinawan
177 River Valley Road, #B1-01/02,
Liang Court Shopping Centre
+65-6339-4811
Opening hours: 12.00pm-3.00pm, 6.00pm-11.00pm (Mon-Fri), 12.00pm-11.00pm (Sat-Sun)

Marutama ra-men

I rarely eat ramen. Traditionally the stock is made from pork bones for that rich and savoury flavour which ramen required. This also means that the broth, at most times, tasted (and smelled) very porky. As some of you might know, I am not a big fan of pork – partly because I love pigs and a big part is because I can’t stand the smell of pork.

Aka ramen

And then came Marutama Ra-men. At Marutama, they used chicken stock – the flavour is still awesome. And one of my favourites
(actually the only item I eat) is their Aka-ramen.

Marutama’s Aka-ramen stock is made up of not just the chicken stock,  seven different kind of nuts were also added to give the broth a rich and smoky flavour.  The noodles were springy and chewy; the chicken meatballs were plump and juicy. I also ordered a Shoyu egg which was gooey and yummy. Everything was so comforting.

What’s great at Marutama is they have these fried garlic chips which you can add in your ramen. I always have to stop myself from dumping the whole container of these delicious chips into my ramen.

If you seek comfort food for your soul, run to Marutama and get yourself a bowl of deliciousness.

Marutama Ra-men
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-90/91 The Central@Clarke Quay
+65-6534-8090

Food envy? no more!

remembered that terrible case of food envy? on that same week, i actually made a trip back to matsuo sushi and order the sashimi set.

sashimi!!!

it was everything that i hoped for. every piece on that plate was fresh and sweet. i was never a big fan of octopus – but theirs was such a delight – tender with a bite. and that sweet succulent ebi.

sashimi set (S$20)

the sashimi set also came with a small bowl of creamy potato salad. to be honest, i can eat a HUGE bowl of it.

though i no longer have food envy, now i want to eat this everyday.

matsuo sushi
1 goldhill plaza
#01-17 goldhill plaza
+65-6356-2603
opening hours:11:30am–2:30pm, 6.00pm–10.00pm (daily)

A curious case of food envy

i am not sure about all of you – after i ordered something, the next thing you know i am eyeing on someone else’s lunch/ dinner instead of focusing on mine – FOOD ENVY!

i was at my favorite japanese restaurant matsuo sushi for lunch (i can only afford their set lunch :p) and the unagi set was the lunch special. included in the set was a plate of salmon sashimi and i thought “oh great. two of my favorite things to eat”. and of course the lady beside me got to order the sashimi set which got me thinking whether i make the right choice for my lunch.

unagi set (S$17)

sadly i didnt make the correct decision. the salmon sashimi was great – cold and fresh. but the unagi. i wished i can say i like it. but the glaze was overly sweet. it was so sweet that i only managed to finish two slices of unagi.

and of course, while i was having my lunch, i keep eyeballing on someone else’s sashimi set and scolding myself for not ordering it.  arghhhhh.

matsuo sushi
1 goldhill plaza
#01-17 goldhill plaza
+65-6356-2603
opening hours: 11:30am–2:30pm, 6.00pm–10.00pm (daily)

Shimbashi Soba

perhaps its singapore hot and humid weather all year round, i always have a weakness for cold soba noodles. there is something so comforting slurping these buckwheat noodles loudly, splattering a bit of the dipping sauce around the face. yes it can be a messy affair but it feels so good.

the first time i tried shimbashi soba, i fall in love with their homemade soba noodles. they tasted fresh, and have a great texture. its been years since i last went to shimbashi, and i am hoping nothing has changed.

menu

value shokado set (S$19.80)

my friend k and i tried two different set lunches at shimbashi. k went for the value shokoda set which consisted of fried chicken, agedashi tofu, assorted tempura and hot udon soup. since she finished all her food, i will assume everything went well.

shokado set b (S$26.80)

for me, my shokoda set consisted of fresh salmon sashimi, unagi, fried soft shell crab and cold soba noodles. the three accompanying dishes were decent though i do find the batter for the soft shell crab was rather thick and abit undercooked. the cold soba noodles were great. the thickness of the noodles was just nice, and they were cooked al dente and i heart the chewiness. although i did wish that they did not pour the dipping sauce in the soba noodles bowl, i would much prefer that they will be separated.

matcha brulee (S$8.80)

despite that we were quite stuffed, we still ordered dessert. k got herself a matcha brulee which was accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream and soba chips, and this time i got a taste of it. like any good creme brulee, it was smooth, rich and creamy. thus i find the vanilla ice cream rather redundant. as for the soba chips, it was abit weird for my taste. the chips were made from the noodles buckwheat flour mixture, they were fried and lightly coated with sugar and sesame. the taste? it was neither sweet nor savory thus equal weird.

green tea ice cream (S$5.80)

as for me, i was seriously stuffed from lunch – i can only managed a scoop of green tea ice cream. and it was the biggest scoop of ice cream i ever had. despite the generosity, i will not be in a hurry to order this again – it was too sweet for my taste and i find the matcha flavor is not as apparent as the creme brulee.

after reviewing the ala-carte menu, i realised that the set lunch is not exactly “valued” as it should be – its rather costly compared some of the ala-carte items. oh well, next time i will just stick to my usual tempura seiro.

shimbashi soba
the paragon
290 orchard road #b1-4
+65-6222-9610
opening hours: 11.30am-9.30pm (daily)

Must fulfill cravings

while i msn-ing my friend k, out of nowhere, i just went “i got craving for ootoya. its been awhile since i go there”. my wonderful friend k said that she is available and we can go have ootoya. awwwwww.

fried chicken and scallop with grated radish and plum sauce (S$17 for set)

close-up

despite my friggin obsession w ootoya, i have yet to try everything on de menu. i opt for fried chicken and scallop with grated radish and plum sauce. this dish also came with fried egg plant and lotus root. both de fried chicken and scallop have pretty great flavor and go v well w de grated radish. but what steal my heart was de fried eggplant which was surprisingly delicious and aint mushy. de lotus root was pretty tasteless. and i dun fancy de plum. just tasted weird.

double sweetness (matcha parfait – S$6)

and of course its impossible going to ootoya and not order any dessert – its WRONG if you do not order dessert. and wrong if you are sharing dessert. ha. k and i ordered de lovely green tea parfait. its good. v v good. happy now.

An almost perfect experience

it is not often that i find a  nice place to eat and keep wanting to go back. ootoya is de rare find. and because of ootoya, i will find myself in singapore most useless mall – orchard central.

scallop rice and tofu and chicken soup set

located on de eighth floor of de mall, ootoya hailed all de way from japan and specialises in set meals. each set meal consists of a main (protein), appetiser, soup and rice. and for de rice, you get to choose plain, seaweed, grated daikon or some ikan billis lookalike fish. what i really love about ootoya is de free flow green tea – its not just any green tea, its genmai cha! yummy.

yummy scallop rice

during chinese new year, kat and i went over to ootoya for de first time. i ordered a scallop rice and tofu and chicken soup set. from de menu picture, i expected the soup to be light. but i was wrong. de soup was gooey. still its decent. however de scallop rice is a different story. i was rather prepared that de scallop would turn out to be rubbery and chewy. i was so so wrong. it has a nice bite, de miso sauce was great. everything just go every well together

pork katsu

kat had de pork katsu which i think she quite enjoy. i hope.

dessert!

after dinner we got ourselves dessert – green tea mousse and caramel pudding. de green tea mousse was nice and rich and full of matcha flavor. while de caramel pudding was pretty good too though de burnt soy sauce takes awhile to get use to.

fish!

a couple of weeks later, i went back to ootoya with a bunch of ex-colleagues. this time round i ordered de mackeral which was sweet and fatty. gosh its juicy. and also i chose to add seaweed onto my rice. its v v good

fried chicken!

de most fattening meal in ootoya

m got herself chicken katsu which looks pretty good. while de rest of gang got themselves de hamburger set which look damn good. we were in a v selfish mood where we did not share each other food. we just kept to ourselves. ha.

its ice cream time

after dinner, we all ordered de same dessert – match ice cream! de flavor was wonderful – rich and simply awesome.

another wonderful meal at ootoya

de same week, i went back to ootoya again! i have an hour for lunch before my appointment. this time round i ordered de grilled chicken with leek. de leeks was rather sad but de grilled chicken was really awesome. de grilled flavor really come through and de chicken skin is yummy. and de grilled daikon was great too. its nice and juicy.

i also ordered a matcha parfait. however i waited and waited and it did not come through. as i was going to be late for my appointment, i have to cancel my order.

the problem i have with ootoya is their service. its not consistent. and de funniest thing is that i find their service is worst when there is hardly anyone in the restaurant. i have to signal them to get me a refill for my tea. i waited more than 15 mins for dessert before i cancel it.

i will definitely go back to ootoya for its wonderful food (oohh btw did i mention there is calories count for each meal you order – so if you are on a diet, you know what to avoid). and not to mention the reasonable price. so far, on an average, i spent about S$25 for a set meal and dessert which is pretty good. i just hope de service will improve over time.

ootoya
181 orchard road
#08-12 orchard central
+65-6884-8901 (no reservations)
opening hours: 12.00pm-9.30pm (daily)

oink’s guide to … Bangkok! Up, up and away!!

since its my dear friend K birthday, i decided to buy her  a meal at somewhere nice. one thing i love about bangkok is that you can go to a really posh place and de food is still affordable (its not cheap but reasonable).

check out de view

and of course i decided to bring my “height-challenged” friend to taihei, banyan tree for dinner. and 53 floor up to be exact.

free food!

appetizers compliment of de chef – tempura gingko nut, seaweed and something that i forgot de name which looks like brain mass ;p

we order a seafood teppanyaki set to share w lotsa of stuff.

de salad

de salad is pretty good. fresh, crunchy. jus normal good salad (i do not know what is de name of de salad as it comes with de teppanyaki set)

ebi tempura

next dish – ebi tempura. batter is light and no alkaline taste. de prawn is pretty fresh too. its good but not unforgettable.

yummmy butter fish

i love de miso butter fish! almost my favorite dish of de night. de fish has charred taste and its ohhh so sweet. yummy.

cun remember why we ordered tamagoyaki sushi. taihei version is just not right. de egg is not sweet and its just plain. its just plain weird.

chicken yakitori is up next. once again, decent yakitori. well seasoned. just alright.

finally our teppanyaki arrived. de set consists of squid, salmon, prawn and vegetables. de squid is pretty good. at least better than last night squid at sornthong. de salmon was overcooked. thus i find it a bit tough. de prawn is nice and juicy (i think thailand got really good prawns!). BUT my favorite got to be de vegetables. its coated with BUTTER. good seasoning and lots of butter make vegetables taste ohhh so good.

and of course not forgetting de garlic rice that comes w de set. K dun really like it as it tasteless. i rather quite like it that way. it just brings up de garlic flavor. well on de other hand, i love garlic.

lastly, we ended de meal w a scoop of orange-yuzu ice cream. once again its too sourish for K and just lovely for me. i think its a good palette cleanser. i love all things citrus

de truth is de meal at taihei dun exactly blow my mind. i v much doubt i will go back there again. there is no one dish that i crave for. however i have to give them de credit for fantastic service especially this dude named amnrat. he is just great – try to speak to us in mandarin, offered to take our pictures. and he even make us walk through de different restaurants and insists we take a picture de top of de hotel. if i ever go back there, chances are its for de ambience and great service.

after taihei, we went for a drink at vertigo. its a nice drinking hole where you can sit and relax and enjoy de view. or see a poor german dude who got sabotage by his aussie friend. this aussie dude insists that his friend take picture of me and K using K’s slr (btw all de pics turned out blurred). yes de people we meet.

the banyan tree
21/100 south sathon road
sathon, bangkok
+66-2-6791200

De place where they made you wear a bib

way back in june, my boss j, mentioned that there is a new japanese bbq place, nagomiya, that is near my house. aroozoo ave to be exact. i was like HUH! its been a long long time since i walked along that road. ever since de swimming pool at aroozoo was closed, i do not see the necessity to walk along there (even though its a pretty nice place to stroll around in de evening).

anyway, what happened was some dude decided to convert de swimming centre to several eateries and a prawning farm. yes de swimming pools got converted to prawning pool. duh.

i quite like de food at nagomiya – de japanese bbq place. de food is pretty fresh. everything is pretty well seasoned. items like chicken, seafood are pretty alright. but it de beef that captures my heart. i especially love de special beef rib. it jus melts in your mouth. ohhh i also like de korean hotpot rice and garlic rice there too.

but one thing i dun fancy about de place is de service. it varies. depending on your luck. de first time i was there, they were pretty short-handed. so everythin was slowwwww. de second time i was there, de waitress told us that de set that i usually ordered which also comes w free flow of drinks, i can opt out that option and save myself $20! de set which is for 2, comes w 2 choices of rice or noodles. intially we were not allow to choose one each. NOW we can. hmmmm. v v not consistent.

even though it a pretty pricey place (you are expected to spend about S$40-S$60 each person, depending on which set you ordered and drinks – they got sappora and asashi!), it gets pretty crowded. even on a weekday night. still i will go back as and when … hey its just 5 mins walk from my house ; p

nagomiya (closed)
19 aroozoo avenue, #02-02
+65-6285-0368
opening hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm

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