Tempura

All posts tagged Tempura

Tomi Sushi 富寿し

Published August 31, 2017 by piggie

Osusume Lunch, $45++

Hailing from Niigata, Tomi Sushi has a history of 63 years since started off in 1954, and Singapore is their first and only oversea venture since 2010. To date they have 4 outlets here, including Echigotei. Despite having no Michelin accolade to brag with, Tomi Sushi associates themselves closely with one important ingredient in making good sushi, Niigata Koshihikari rice. Among Japonica there are different grades, the best among all is definitely Koshihikari, notably those from Niigata’s Uonuma. Tomi Sushi claims that they use Koshihikari rice from Niigata, but stop short of saying whether it’s from Uonuma, which cost a few dollars more per kilogram. Chances are, they aren’t. Nevertheless, Koshihikari from Niigata alone is enough justification of its premium status. The reason Niigata’s rice is so famous is because the area has massive snowfall. After winter, the snow would melt and dissolve into and fertilise the ground, and along with good climate, able to cultivate possibly the best rice on earth. As a result, other by-products using Niigata’s rice garner rave review too, notably their sake.

Niigata is located on the west side of Japan, facing Japan Sea. As such, Tomi Sushi imports their fish from Niigata as well as from Tokyo. Hence, depending on season, sometime they may have special import that you won’t find on their menu, needless to say, for a premium price. I guess that’s where they stand out from some competitors.


After a long introduction, allow me to finally comment on the food. My friend and I were promptly served hot tea as soon as we were seated inside their Millenia Walk branch, and we each ordered their Osusume Lunch (おすすめランチ), notably the most expensive item on their lunch menu. This is a set meal as well as Chef’s recommendation on their menu, with Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro being the highlight among the sushi.

Maguro Chutoro (3rd from left), Maguro Otoro (1st from left)

Less than 10 minutes later, the sushi platter came first, with the main meal coming briefly afterwards. I have no intention pretending to be a sushi expert here, I’m definitely not. But I did learn somewhere that normally, diners are suppose to start from sushi with a lighter colour, towards the darker one (usually also stronger in taste), in-between eat a piece of ginger and sip tea to rinse off any remaining taste from the previous sushi, just so diner can fully appreciate each single piece of sushi. So I had to save the best for last, starting from the maki roll first. Oh, just to clarify, the restaurant certainly didn’t have such requirement, they know most of the non-Japanese diners here don’t know such ritual. I usually don’t bother such practice in any normal sushi restaurant either, but this certainly is a premium one. Firstly, the freshness was never in doubt, my friend called and found out their last shipment came just a day ago. Secondly, their sushi rice did not come with excessive vinegar taste. Thirdly, the rice didn’t split easily away from the fish upon consumption (Trust me, even a Japanese chef in a Tokyo restaurant can fail this! LOL). Now, come to the taste of the Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro, which means Fatty Tuna and Extra Fatty Tuna from different part of the fish respectively. I have to reiterate I am no expert, and this is the first time I try premium tuna like these. I do find both having a softer texture, slightly tastier, but I couldn’t tell much difference between the two, if anything, the former is probably firmer.

The spotlight of the main meal must certainly be on the tempura. The prawns taste fresh, and the tempura flour is thin and crisp that my dining partner find this better than that from Tempura Kohaku. I guess I would just say each has its own merits. Personally, I love the Shiso leaf tempura, so crisp and retaining some mint flavour of the leaf. Salad was appetising, and their Chawanmushi though looks thin, but has quite a handful of ingredients within.

Apart from the meal, Tomi Sushi also takes pride in providing different soy sauce for sushi and sashimi respectively, going into such meticulous details is truly exemplary!

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Tempura Kohaku 天ぷら琥珀

Published April 17, 2017 by piggie

I have walked passed Tempura Kohaku more than a dozen time, and couldn’t understand the commotion for the super long queue outside. But one fine weekend, when I was trying to impress someone special, I decided to bring them queue for Tempura Kohaku. This is one outlet that I had never failed to see long queue outside no matter what hour I drop by, and on this occasion, we queued for a good half an hour. If you think after queuing, your food will be served shortly afterwards, you are utterly wrong! We waited for ANOTHER half an hour before our food were served. This is strictly not for the hungry tummies.

I suppose I don’t have to (re)introduce Eat at Seven any further (read my post on Tokyo Sundubu for further details), and Tempura Kohaku is another tenant here, certainly the most popular one without a doubt. And before I go on with the main course, I absolutely have to mention their free pickles.

From first glance, it’s just radish. But notice the yellowish flakes? It’s not just ginger, it’s spiced up with Yuzu pulps and overall, it’s quite appetising!

Kohaku Tendon Spicy, $15++

Tempura Kohaku basically offers two different types of tendon, Kohaku Tendon and Vegetables Tendon, priced at $15++ and $14++ respectively, and further segregated into spicy flavour and non-spicy flavour. They generally use Hokkaido’s Nanatsuboshi rice, but diners can also choose 16 Multi Grains + Nanatsuboshi rice at no extra charge. It is claimed that all 16 grains and rice are produced in Japan. I almost cannot taste the difference but it certainly provides more healthy benefits. Kohaku’s forte very much lies in their sauce, it’s sweet and flavourful. Of course, their tempura are quite generous and yummy too! I was amazed by their tempura variety, which include long bean, pumpkin, mushroom, squid, chicken, crab stick, baby corn, and two shrimps. When it was served, they placed a small plate on my donburi, I seriously don’t know what’s it for, but I used it as a spare plate to place my tempura, which, as you can see, almost shielded the entire bowl of rice from daylight. I have to say, this is the best tendon I ever tried! It’s not just me, the old folks love it too, and we all came to the consensus the long wait was worthwhile.

Kohaku Tendon, $15++

This is the normal Koharu Tendon (non-spicy), but I think the difference lies in the spicy sauce spread on the rice, not on the tempura.

Vegetables Tendon, $14++

The meatless Vegetable Tendon… I’m wondering what’s that long long vegetable though. Mum actually loves this tendon so much she wants me to take her to a tempura restaurant when we visit Japan. But seriously, I can’t be certain I can find anything better, unless we go out of the way and wasted precious time queuing for it.

In addition, Tempura Kohaku offers set meal too, which cost an additional $4.50++ for an added bowl of Udon.

Tempura Kohaku 天ぷら琥珀
3 Temasek Boulevard #03-311
Eat at Seven, Suntec City
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 63334386

Opening Hours:
11:30hr ~ 21:30hr

Yomoda Soba (よもだそば)

Published March 19, 2017 by piggie

First and foremost, allow me to stress this is a sponsored article, but I will nevertheless stay neutral in this review. Let me start by giving a brief history on Yomoda Soba, but to begin with, I need to elaborate on Japan Food Town, where Yomoda Soba (よもだそば) and other 15 authentic Japanese restaurants are located.

Japan Food Town can be found inside Isetan level 4, Wisma Atria, it is a collaboration between Cool Japan Fund and The Japan Association of Overseas Promotion for Food & Restaurants. The former comprises organisation such as ANA, Isetan, JTB, and many other established corporations. When it was first opened in Wisma Atria last July (2016), it was met with much fanfare. Just like Eat at Seven in Suntec City, which also involves ANA, I feel it can hardly goes wrong, I trust ANA to select the best of Japan for diners here. ANA is a 5-stars Japanese airlines, and they would risk tarnishing their image and reputation otherwise. So, naturally for the first few months at least, I was expecting Japanese chef to helm the restaurants (or maybe they are here to stay for the long haul? I don’t know), pity I didn’t have the opportunity to visit until now, and my visit is certainly not disappointing.

The name Yomoda actually came from a Matsuyama (Ehime, Shikoku) dialect, meaning a jovial friend who loves to see the funny side of things. The soba restaurant is hailed from Tokyo, but its proprietor is actually an Ehime native, that explained. Frankly speaking, Soba is actually my least favourite Japanese noodle, I still prefer Udon and ramen anytime, provided of course, the noodles are done genuinely (definitely not the terrible Singapore flavour, particularly for Udon). Soba is probably the most economical noodle one can find in many parts of Japan, but personally, I don’t quite like the overpowering buckwheat taste.

Tempura Seiro Soba, S$23++

As an invited guest, I am allowed to choose between their Tempura Seiro Soba Set (S$23++), or their Tendon set (S$20++). Both sets include their signature soba, but I selected the former anyway. Seiro Soba is served cold, in Japan it’s marvellous for Summer, when diners dip their ice cooled soba into a bowl of cold dipping sauce, and usually enjoyed with an assortment of tempura. My Tempura Seiro Soba comprises a variety of prawn, braised pork, chicken, paprika, pumpkin, and kidney beans, dipped in tempura batter and fried. Yomodo claims their soba is Sarashina Soba, using only the inner part of buckwheat, which is why their soba noodle looks a little whitish instead of the conventional green colour, and handmade on-site using buckwheat from Nagano, a prefecture famous for their soba too. Yomodo’s soba is moderately springy, not so strong on buckwheat taste, for me, that’s really great! But having said that, they do offer traditional-styled soba such as Kitsune Soba, Hanamaki Soba (and also the less conventional ones such as Tomato Asari Soba, Hot Spicy Soy Milk Chicken Soba) too. Pardon me, I ain’t a Soba expert, you can refer to Japan-Guide for further elaboration. In addition, they also serve a thinner version of Sanuki Udon. As for their Tempura, it was crisply fried, not excessively oily, and the goodness within is mesmerising, it’s definitely fried on the spot, not pre-fried like my favourite Udon restaurant in Singapore did.

Yomoda Soba claims to import their flour, sauce, and rice from Japan. That’s probably one of the reasons why their prices (and probably likewise the other restaurants here) are much more than their outlets in Japan.

Yuzu Sorbet, S$5++

I didn’t want to walk away without paying anything, so I ordered a Yuzu Sorbet after my meal. It has a rich citrus flavour and plenty of fruit pulps, pretty appetising! Yomoda Soba serves free plain water, other than that, they have limited range of cold drink and dessert. But being a traditional Japanese restaurant, you can expect lots of sake!

Yomoda Soba (よもだそば)
Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Rd
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623467
Website: http://www.japanfoodtown.sg/stores/yomoda-soba/

Opening Hours:
Daily – 11:30hr ~ 21:30hr

Tamoya Udonたも屋うどん

Published April 8, 2013 by piggie

Tamoya-SAM_0936

I used to dislike Udon before I went to Shikoku (Kagawa in particular) in 2011. I found it the most tasteless noodle I could find in Singapore, what’s more, with its thickness, it was double the displeasure.

My mindset changed after my Shikoku trip. It was then that I realised, the fault’s mainly lied with the noodle maker, and Kagawa is actually producing the best udon in the world, they certainly know how to get the best out of this thick noodles.

When I recently learned that Tamoya has established an outlet in Liang Court, offering traditional Sanuki udon (Sanuki is the old name for Kagawa), I was tempted to give it a try. In order to attract a band of Japanese patrons frequenting Liang Court, Tamoya has set up their first oversea outlet here, a conservative move indeed, before the good name of udon is restored after the injustice for so long.

Bukkake Udon with Pumpkin and Chikuwa Tempura

Bukkake Udon with Pumpkin and Chikuwa Tempura

Like many Udon outlet in Kagawa, Tamoya allows patrons to choose their preferred type of udon, with the option to be served hot or cold, before selecting a range of tempura, something like our mixed vegetable rice. Right here, it’s fair to say that their variety is not as much as I found in some Kagawa outlets, but I suppose they are taking a humble step for a start. I had a Bukkake Udon ($4.80), added Pumpkin Tempura ($1) and Chikuwa Tempura ($1.50). After payment, patrons then proceed to utensil counter to top up your noodle with your desired topping such as sauces, spices, tempura flakes, seaweed etc, at no extra charges.

Bukkake Udon ($4.80)

Bukkake Udon ($4.80)

Tamoya’s udon noodle was smooth, chewy, and absorbed the sweet fish broth well. It’s the best udon I ever had locally, and tasted closest to the real stuff in Kagawa. Although I did not select the Ebi Tempura ($2.50) & Fried Chicken ($2), I strongly recommend these after trying my dining companion’s. Tamoya’s tempura was surprisingly not too oily, crispy, not to mention delicious. It offers value for money especially if you compare to ramen. Back in Japan, I always opt for udon if I had a choice because it was usually much cheaper than ramen, and tastier than soba, particularly if the noodle came from Kagawa.

Personally, I am grateful for Tamoya in bringing this Kagawa delicacy to Singapore, for Kagawa is far from a popular tourist spot and not usually favour by travelers in this region, it isn’t easy getting there without some deviation on the road. I finally can introduce my love ones on authentic Sanuki Udon from Kagawa, where they are unlikely to visit. Oh, and I have yet to mention Tamoya Udon was established in 1996 by Sanuki Udon Champion, Tamotsu Kurokawa. I could have spent more time talking about this fantastic prefecture and its star attractions, particularly for fans of Tadao Ando, however, it’s not within the objective of this post 😛

Tamoya Udon Singapore たも屋うどん–シンガポール
177 River Valley Road #01-32
Liang Court
Singapore 179030
Tel/Fax: 63370301
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm

Afternote:

Tamoya has since, changed the name of their Bukkake broth to Sanuki broth. I guess the reason was that Bukkake is associated with some hentai terms 😛 I was in a shock when I first google about that, but I thought it could be pronunciation with different meaning. Anyway, my previous visit I ordered Bukkake broth without realising their quietly changed the name, yet still, they gave me the same darker broth than Kake without questioning me, it was then I saw the name Bukakke was no longer on the menu, replaced by Sanuki. And now, they also started charging GST.