Category Archives: Japanese

Yayoiken

My eyes literally lit up the afternoon in December when I was walking around Liang Court and discovered that Yayoiken had opened a branch in Singapore.

I have fond memories of eating at Yayoiken in Kyoto – and an especially memorable image of this one round where we watched a Japanese Daniel Radcliffe lookalike young chap wolfing down bowls of rice in pure utter delight (the Japanese really love their rice!).

With branches around Japan, Yayoiken is known for its western-style teishokus (set meals). I’ve tried various teishokus here and they are consistently good, although the miso soup served with each set meal is pretty unremarkable (Ootoya’s miso soup is way better!).

The dish I would like to highlight today is not a teishoku though, but your basic oyako don ($9.90++). As background, oyako don literally means parent-and-child-bowl, drawing from the rather cute/tragic fact that the rice bowl contains both ‘parent’ chicken and ‘child’ egg (or parent egg and child chicken – depending on which school of thought you subscribe to in the chicken-or-egg-first debate) simmered in a dashi stock.

The oyako don at Yayoiken could be one of the best I’ve eaten. The goodness is all in the egg – perfectly cooked, moist omelette interspersed with ribbons of runny half-cooked yolk.

It is a simple dish, but in the chaos of life there is beauty in simplicity.

Rice lovers will rejoice to know that the Yayoiken in Singapore follows the Japanese model of offering free flow of rice.

A few differences aside (i.e. the absence of vending machine for ordering food, the normal operating hours  – Yayoiken in Japan is opened 24/7, and the slightly annoying overly polite Singaporean waitstaff here that greet you in high-pitched voices and bow incessantly), the Singapore branch is pretty darn authentic.

So, do give Yayoiken a try the next round you crave for authentic affordable Japanese food!

Yayoiken
www.yayoiken.sg
Meidi-ya Supermarket
177 River Valley Road
#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Singapore 179030
Open 10am – 10pm

Tonkichi

This being my first visit to Tonkichi, I had to try their signature Tonkotsu. After all, there was a sign in the restaurant that read Tonkichi is Tonkotsu; Tonkotsu is Tonkichi. ‘Nuff said.

I ordered the hire katsu (the leaner pork cut) set which came with rice, miso soup, shredded cabbage (with a nice salad dressing accented with yuzu), watermelon and tea.

I confess I am not the biggest tonkotsu fan because I find fried breaded meat without gravy quite dry and boring. Even the tonkotsu at the famed Maisen in Tokyo did not wow me, so pardon if this review doesn’t sound too enthusiastic. As tonkotsus go, I think this was pretty good – tender and not too oily.

Can someone teach me how to grind sesame seeds though? The sesame seeds that were intended to accompany the tonkotsu dipping sauce came in a bowl with a pestle. But try as I might, the seeds remained pretty much intact despite my efforts at pounding, stirring, grating. In any case, this wasn’t a huge issue because the tonkotsu was good enough to eat on its own. In fact, I found the tonkotsu sauce a little too strong for the delicate porky taste.

Epilogue: Look what I found – A website providing guidance on grinding toasted sesame seeds: www.kadoya.com/english/pleasure/cooking_002.html.

This will definitely come in handy the next round I have tonkotsu!

Tonkichi
www.pokkafood.com.sg/tonkichi
4th level, Isetan Scotts
350 Orchard Road, Shaw House
Singapore 038985
Open 11am- 10pm
Other branches: Ngee Ann City, Suntec City, Orchard Central, Tampines Mall