All posts in the Food category

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火 (2018)

Published April 19, 2018 by piggie

This is another complimentary tasting session by Santouka, who is introducing their new Spicy Shio Ramen, Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, and dessert Parfait Strawberry. Hence, I am segregating this post from my other posts on Santouka.

We were not allowed to choose the location, but were allocated their outlet at Cuppage Terrace. I have been to their The Central (a.k.a. Clarke Quay Central) outlet many times, but this is the first time I’m visiting their outlet at Cuppage Terrace.

Cuppage Terrace is a happening area, particularly popular for those seeking a drink after work, and I suppose that’s the reason why many restaurants there are having a break in-between lunch hours and dinner hours. In view of that, we made an attempt to be at Santouka’s Cuppage Terrace at 5.30pm, the moment they resume business in the evening, before the madding crowd comes in. The crew at Santouka Cuppage Terrace are mostly very young and energetic, and seems excited at our presence, they spent extra effort in explaining the new items to us, which really makes penning this post a lot easier.

Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, $12++

The Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was the first item served. Before I go on further, let me elaborate, that Kaisen is Japanese for Seafood, Hiyashi means chilled, and Maze is mixed, soba is of course the noodle. Just like many other ramen restaurants, Santouka ain’t using the buckwheat noodle in their Mazesoba, they use the same noodle as in their ramen. Me and my dining partner were quite surprise at its price, as most ramen restaurants serving Mazesoba usually charging very much more, but mainly using other ingredients. As you can see from the pictures, Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was served on a rectangular plate, which almost taken up the entire width of our single table, so that gives a rough idea of its generous portion.

That’s not all, diners who order Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba also get to choose three additional toppings (1 meat and 2 veggie) from charshu strips, eel, beef slices, bamboo shoots, egg, black fungus, broccoli, garlic, coriander leaves etc. Now that really makes the noodle more appealing!

In general, taste wise, there’s a rich nutty fragrance, and I sense the presence of sesame sauce, overall it’s very appetising! In Japan, chilled noodles such as soba and udon are very popular over summer, it’s very much like chilling down a hot summer with a mug of beer. Although in Singapore, it’s quite different, most of us still favour a hot broth despite our monotonous hot and humid climate. As the name suggests, the key ingredients here are the seafood, which include salmon, scallops, shrimps, salmon roes, and apart from the shrimps, all others are served raw. Such ingredients go down well with chilled noodles, not hot, hence I can understand why Santouka only come out with a cold version of their Kaisen Mazesoba. I suspect this may well be a testing balloon of patrons’ reception, that if popular, they may start introducing more flavour and premium ingredients such as crabs and sea urchin. Let’s wait and see!

Spicy Shio Ramen, $16.50++

Santouka’s Spicy Shio Ramen came a little unconventional, firstly, it’s missing their signature plum found on their usual Shio ramen, secondly, the presence of fried onions (which is rarely found in Japanese ramen). Other ingredients include leek, coriander leaves, sesame, and of course, charshu. It is obvious their intention is to raise the flavour amidst a stronger spicy broth, so as to bring out the character of the ramen. And despite the spiciness, the sweetness of the rich and smooth tonkotsu based broth is still very noticeable. Unless I’m mistaken, I didn’t observe any obvious presence of chilli oil, which means the spiciness is likely the result of chilli powder, which of course, makes it less oily. All in all, I find this ramen packs a good punch and balance for someone who likes hot stuff. If anything, I feel it possesses a very prominent local flavour with a good fusion of Japanese touch.

Parfait Strawberry, $12.50++

Wait, I know it’s a far cry from its look in Santouka’s pamphlet, but I have to reiterate this parfait was really how it looked when it was served, we had not yet eaten it. First and foremost, the crew were quite apologetic that they didn’t have the correct glass available for it. Secondly, they informed us that the parfait melts very fast, and they assured us they tried their best to squeeze in as much ingredients (which also include corn flakes in the middle of the parfait) as possible. But cosmetic issues apart, the fact being there weren’t as many strawberries as I was anticipating, perhaps due to the fast melting whip cream that they couldn’t squeeze in more. In addition, the strawberries didn’t taste very fresh. Despite these down sides, I still quite enjoyed the parfait overall. Ultimately, Santouka is a ramen restaurant, not exactly a dessert bar. Let’s hope the restaurant irons out these technical matters before the Parfait is officially made available.

Kazan Wing, $5++

As per my normal practice, I tried not to leave the restaurant without paying anything, so we added this Kazan Wing. It was much better than ‘finger-licking good’, capable of giving those fried chicken franchise a run of their money! On their menu, it was stated that preparation takes about 10 minutes, that means it’s freshly fried, and the meat still retained that tenderness, not stale. What really made these remarkable is firstly, the lemon, excellently complementing the miso onion paste, truly spicy and delicious! This is not part of their new item, but I would highly recommend it.

Last but not least, a little information about Santouka’s upcoming promo, for more information and promotion, do follow their page on JPassport.





Published March 29, 2018 by piggie

Sharing a common restaurant space with Tajimaya (for charcoal grill), it can be somewhat confusing for a start. We were led to a table for Tajimaya before the waitress discovered we wanted hot pot, and re-led us to one for Shabuya instead. The hot pot tables are different, with ceramic hob embedded, so it’s not like just bringing the portable gas stove over for the hot pot.

I have not been to a steamboat restaurant for decade, and my mind set was still having the perception of associating steamboat with buffet style, which is one reason why I shunned steamboat outside, because I tend to over eat 😛 Shabuya offers set meals, where food are given in fixed quantity, and diners get to choose from 5 soup bases, namely Tonkatsu, Shoyu, Daishi, Chilli, Chicken. Meat wise, apart from having Kurobuta, Shabuya is also offering premium beef, notably Miyazaki beef, depending on your choice of set meal, or otherwise, it’s also available as à la carte. For those who are still having the outdated mindset that Kobe beef is always the best, let me reiterate, that Kobe ain’t really producing beef. What was known as Kobe beef was mainly Tajima (Hyogo) breed, it’s just that Kobe being Hyogo prefecture’s capital city, it somehow grabbed the limelight from the entire prefecture. Miyazaki beef, on the other hand, has won 3 consecutive champions in Japan’s National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu (Zenkoku Wagyu Noryoku Kyoshinkai) in 2007, 2012, and 2017 (held every 5 years). I am not saying Miyazaki beef is definitely better, I just feel that Kobe beef seems to me more like a standard, a protocol. Google, and you’ll probably understand what I’m trying to relate.

Chicken broth

I initially wanted Tonkatsu broth, but my dining partner wanted that, so I settled for a Chicken broth instead. Yup, one each.

We had the Shabuya set, which comprises Kurobuta Pork Belly, Pork Collar, Trio of Seafood Paste, Assorted Vegetables, House Salad (Garden Green with Cerry Tomato & Wafu Shoyu Goma Dressing), Salmon Sashimi, Chilled Silken Tofu with Roasted Sesame Shoyu Dressing, Tempura Moriwase, Chawanmushi. The Free Range chicken stated in their menu was absent, we were given a choice of steamed rice, ramen, or udon instead.

From left, Trio of Seafood Paste, Pork Collar, Kurobuta Pork Belly

Assorted Vegetables

House Salad

Tempura Moriwase

Chilled Silken Tofu with Roasted Sesame Shoyu Dressing

Salmon Sashimi



The waitress served almost everything at once, which really filled the entire table. The broth, though served lukewarm, didn’t take long to get boiled, and in goes all my favourite ingredients! The thinly sliced pork are truly tender and sweet. And for those who dread the ramen or udon may be too much for such a heavy meal, fret not, it only came in small portion. Overall, I find almost all of them delicious, save for the Chawanmushi, which I could still felt some stink taste much to my dislike.

At this point, I also ought to touch on their seasoning and condiments counter. They served fresh eggs, along with 4 types of sauces, Goma sauce, Sesame oil, Ponzu sauce, and Shoyu sauce. And the condiments include spring onion, daikon oroshi, sweet chilli, chilli padi, garlic, peanut, toronggarashi, chilli powder etc. You get to try each on their own, or mix your own favourite condiments.

And this is what I got myself. I simply love its overpowering peanut flavour and a tint of spiciness, and went well with everything!

All in all, I found our meals very satisfying apart from the Chawanmushi, and I’d love to bring the old folks here another day!

Shabuya しゃぶ屋
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-102/103, Vivocity
Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 63770070

Opening hours ~
Monday – Friday:
Lunch: 12:00 hr – 15:00 hr
Dinner: 18:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Saturday and Sunday & PH:
Lunch: 11:30 hr – 16:00 hr
Dinner: 18:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Inaniwa Yosuke 稲庭養助

Published March 2, 2018 by piggie

Japanese udon has been my favourite noodle ever since I re-discovered them (or rather they discovered me! LOL!) incidentally in Kagawa, the birth place of the most famous Sanuki udon. Prior to that, I tend to stay away from udon because the impression given me locally was terrible, even from some local Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Not until the arrival of Tamoya Udon here that I beginning to find authentic udon, prior to that, the colours, as well as the texture could be very contrasting to the real thing, let alone the taste.

Inaniwa Yosuke’s arrival excites me, because they are one of the 3 main udon in Japan (along with Sanuki and Mizusawa udon), and possibly with the most complicating manufacturing process, taking 4 days to make as all processes are manually done. I’ll leave the description simple here, those interested can google to learn more. But due to its tedious process, its udon don’t usually comes cheap (For Sanuki udon, it’s very affordable in Japan), as such, I have been waiting for promotion and finally my prayers are answered. They came out 2 set meals for $21.80++, choose any two of the 3 from their promotion menu comprising Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set, Ten-Don Set, and Curry Rice-Set. Among them, Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set ($21.80++) usually cost more than the other two, it looks more appealing anyway, so both me and my dining partner chose that. After that, we were asked to select from having it served hot or cold, we both wanted it cold. We went at a time when it happened we were the only customers, yet it took the chef quite long for the meals to be ready. Never mind, I ain’t hurrying him, the last thing I wanted was for the chef to expedite and skipping some procedures on the food. In truth, I appreciate his attention to details.

Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set, $21.80++

Conventional udon (usually means Sanuki because it’s more popular) comes in very thick form, still exceptionally chewy and smooth nonetheless. But Inaniwa udon is extremely thin, and because of that, when dipping into the sauce, is able to retain more sweetness of the sauce, and taste extraordinary wonderful! Its texture seems more smooth and slippery than Sanuki udon too, undoubtedly the best udon I ever tried! No wonder it has won so many accolades in Japan. The accompanied condiments include scallion, wasabi, dip them all into the sauce, and I absolutely love the kick it infused into the noodle! As for the Unagi Kabayaki-Don, not bad, not excessively sweet, and I quite enjoyed the texture, however, it pales in comparison to their udon, which is truly excellent.

Inaniwa Yosuke 稲庭養助
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Road #04-45
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623279


Opening Hours:…
Seriously, this is a little confusing here, their name card printed Mon-Sun, 11:00 hr to 22:00 hr, but their Facebook lisitng 11:30 hr to 22:00 hr with break between 15:00 hr to 17:30 hr. Please call to verify if necessary.

Machida Shoten 町田商店

Published February 4, 2018 by piggie

Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria is another Japanese restaurant project involving ANA (along with many others), a year back I had the privilege to visit Yomoda Soba, but I haven’t been back since. I must say, most of the restaurants here came with a reputation, and the price is a little upmarket, which is the main reason why I don’t come here regularly.

As a ramen fanatic, I have been eyeing Machida Shoten for some time, since they are the only dedicated ramen restaurant in Japan Food Town. I finally made my move when they came out a one-for-one promotion early 2018. Firstly, I must confess I didn’t do my homework prior to visiting, but thinking that they came from Tokyo (well, actually Yokohama), I wanted to try their Shoyu based ramen. However, my dining partner wanted that too, hence I thought I might as well try out a Miso based ramen instead, so we can try out different broth.

Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen, $16++

I had their Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen. But before elaborating further, I have to highlight that Machida Shoten classified themselves as Iekei (家系)styled ramen restaurant, which in Mandarin meaning ‘House Type’. I actually only notice this after finishing my ramen, I was quite puzzled what that meant, and only after getting home that I had time to google about it, which generally referring to a combination of Tonkotsu broth with Shoyu. Truth be told, that’s not what the words mean, I suppose they meant it’s styled like how mum would have cooked it.

Upon ordering, patrons are asked to select the texture of the noodle as well as richness of the broth from “Hard, Japan Taste, Soft” and “Strong, Japan Taste, Light” respectively. We left everything at medium, which is the Japan taste here. When the noodle was served, I noted they are using round thick noodles, typical of Tokyo-styled ramen. However, the noodle was too hard for my preference, so agreed my dining partner too, and tasted like under-cooked spaghetti. I wonder whether they mixed up our order with the hard noodle. By the way, it’s worth noting that they made their own noodle in-house, an effort I truly appreciate. That said, if I took long enough to finish the noodle, it would at least get to a more desirable firmness. As per classic Sapporo Miso ramen, the main ingredients such as sweet corns, butter, are all there, so are an un-sliced egg, which wasn’t very runny like their picture suggested, and the only ingredient that impressed me was the medium size thick charshu, it’s chewy and offering a good tenderness.

The ramen broth was creamy and ultra rich, to such extent it reminds me of those use for Tsukemen, but less salty. So far, I hardly had problem finishing up ramen broth, I was struggling with this one. Actually, if the noodle wasn’t that firm, my impression won’t be that bad, but adding up the cons really left me a poor impression of this. Nevertheless, I reminded myself Miso ramen is not really their forte, Shoyu is.

Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, S$16++

As mentioned, my dining partner had their Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, which is their signature ramen. Again, the noodle was too firm, and the broth was pretty thick. In my opinion, the broth does taste slightly better than my miso broth, but that’s as far as I would go. All I can say is, I’m afraid Machida Shoten ain’t really my cup of tea. That said, I must credit their nice ambience and the warm services.

By the way, ice water and warm water are chargeable at $1.

Machida Shoten 町田商店
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Roadd #04-40
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623214

Opening Hours: 11:30 hr – 23:00 hr

Express by Chatterbox

Published January 29, 2018 by piggie

The history of Singapore chicken rice goes back many decades, but before the local hawker chicken rice fanfare gaining steam thanks to the popularity of blogging and reviews, Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was said to be the pinnacle of this Singapore cuisine. I know our northern neighbour and probably China may lay claim on its origin, but that to me is insignificant, I’m sure by now the differences must be getting more diversified that it may no longer be an apple to apple comparison anymore. Anyway, the last time I patronise Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was more than a decade ago, and to be honest, apart from some very positive impression then, I couldn’t remember in detail. So before I start, I need to reiterate I am not able to relate any differences between the Chatterbox in Mandarin Hotel and their subsidiary here. Let’s just take this as an independent review.

Express by Chatterbox is located in a rather inconspicuous spot in Downtown Gallery along Shenton Way. It’s half hidden behind the escalator on the ground floor, where one can easily overlooked. The ambience itself is probably half their outlet at Mandarin Hotel used to offer (I haven’t been there since they shifted from ground floor to Level 5 many years ago), and hence reasonably reflected in their price. In fact, Express by Chatterbox offers minimal services whereby customers order and pay for their food at the counter, and then given a number chit for their order. They then proceed to the food counter for their order when the number is flashed. As such, Express by Chatterbox doesn’t charge for services, and their price already included GST. However, it must be noted that their charges is merely a fraction they were charging at Mandarin Hotel.

Signature Chicken Rice, $8.50

Perhaps I have a weak recollection, but I thought the portion at Mandarin Hotel was a bit larger. Nevertheless, the quality of the chicken rice here is truly class! Although the prices still a little pricey comparing to hawker fare,  after all, I believe so is its rental, and a better ambience naturally. I suppose the portion of the chicken here is randomly allocated, but if you specifically asking for chicken thigh, you will have to top up $2. As can be seen from the picture, their chicken was adequately moist, and the meat was rather tasty. The fragrant oiled rice was delightful, all in all, Express by Chatterbox certainly did not fail.

Yang Chow Fried Rice with Fried Egg, $10.50

I also ordered their Yang Chow Fried Rice with Fried Egg, which was exceptionally tasty! Firstly, they are using fragrant oiled rice, so its taste already gained an head start. Next, they know what ingredients really bring out the taste in fried rice, notably roasted pork and shrimps. The accompanying egg was a disappointment though, I would personally prefer scrambled egg fried with the rice. As for the fried chicken, I love its crispiness, though somehow it just made this dish looked more like Nasi Lemak than a Yang Chow fried rice. But frankly speaking, identity aside, this is truly delectable.

Express by Chatterbox
Downtown Gallery
6A Shenton Way #01-04
Singapore 068815
Tel: +65 62200758

Opening hours:
11:00 hr – 21:15 hr


Fugetsu 鶴橋風月

Published January 10, 2018 by piggie

Fugetsu is the latest restaurant to join Eat At Seven in Suntec City, situated at the location where Nikunoji used to be. With a bragging right being Osaka’s No 1 Okonomiyaki restaurant, it certainly comes with a big reputation, and a history dating back more than 60 years. Their old shop is still in Tsuruhashi (鶴橋), Osaka, hence the name 鶴橋風月, but they now have close to 100 outlets in Japan, a few more in Taiwan, USA, and now Singapore.

So what is Okonomiyaki(お好み焼き)? On their website, they simply put it as Japanese pizza. I beg to differ, it’s more like an integration of fried noodle with different ingredient toppings ranging from seafood to meat. And in Japan, there’s actually two main variety, the Osaka-style, and the Hiroshima-style. The former is more popular outside Hiroshima, more fanciful and flavourful, while Hiroshima-style tends to be more layered, and with lots of cabbage. Needless to say, Fugetsu is Osaka-styled.

Grilled Edamame, $5.50++

For a starter, I ordered their Grilled Edamame. I’m not one who actually like Edamame, but it definitely exudes a very aromatic grill flavour, quite appetising too!

Fried Potatoes and Asparagus with Soy Butter Sauce, $8.80++

Although the name of this dish sounds like a vegetarian dish, but as seen in the picture above, there are slices of bacon too. The potatoes are delicious, but the same cannot be said of the asparagus, too old and rough for most diners’ taste, hard time digesting these.

Fried Noodle with Pork in Yaki Soba Sauce, $10.80++ (Regular)

This is the basic Okonomiyaki. Actually, there is only a very thin line between Okonomiyaki and Yaki Soba. The way I see it, is that Okonomiyaki usually has a poached egg on top, but this ain’t always the case. Besides, some restaurants offer both Soba and Udon noodle for their Okonomiyaki, my personal preference is that so long as it’s fried, I prefer it in Soba. To be honest, I have tried better and cheaper Yaki Soba in Japan, I only find this Fried Noodle with Pork in Yaki Soba Sauce average, mainly because of its lack of ingredients for its price, but noodle wise, good thing it ain’t too dry, moderately oily, and the pork is rather tasty.

Fried Noodle with Squid, Prawn and Oyster in Soy Butter Sauce, $20.00++ (Regular)

Up till this point, I was still satisfied with their basic Okonomiyaki, until I tried this…

The seafood are actually besides the point, but I simply love anything buttery, in fact I love to add butter when I cook my own spaghetti, and this simply nails it. Not surprisingly, the taste blend well with the seafood, though the price almost double with the addition of the oysters. Now this one here is really better than almost every Yaki Soba I’ve ever tried in Japan, not to mention Singapore.
By the way, Fugetsu in Suntec City ain’t their only outlet in Singapore, they have another branch in Changi Airport T2 too!

新故乡酒楼 Xin Cuisine

Published November 27, 2017 by piggie

据知新加坡雅庭假日酒店(Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium)的新故乡酒楼有一定的历史,但我初次听闻却只是几年前的事,而且还是从月饼开始的。新故乡酒楼主打粤菜,不过我这次前来是享用点心自由餐,而自近年来翻新后迎来了新香港总厨陈顺煌师傅,也带来新的点心菜色。




























新故乡酒楼 Xin Cuisine
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium (新加坡雅庭假日酒店)
317 Outram Road, Level 4
Singapore 169075
Tel: +65 67317173

Opening Hours:
12:00 hr – 14:30 hr
18:30 hr – 22:30 hr