Buta Ramen

There this little ramen outlet that I passed by often at Far East Square that always catch my attention because it has this big sign:DSC_0394So of course have to try right. Rope in a friend and we ordered theseDSC_0395 DSC_0396

One spicy and one Tonkotsu ramen.  Frankly I think it didn’t deserve the accolades. One thing, is the ramen was too soggy. Overcooked. I asked my friend who queue up for it who cooked it. He said it was a local lady. Not a Japanese chef. And he said the ramen was pre-cooked in a pot and the broth was just poured over it! Ah sodesu! Maybe the lady did it to cope with the lunch time crowd but what it did for me was a very big disappointment after seeing the hype on the banner.

Maybe their speciality is not the ramen but the pork belly and ribs or the grilled Kakuni buns but I didn’t try those so I can’t comment but if the ramen is not right… no matter what else is good, a ramen outlet without good ramen????

Koh Grill and Sushi Bar

There this place at Wisma within the Food Republic food court that always have a super long queue. Every time I go there, I can’t help but marvel at the queue outside Koh Grill and Sushi Bar. But I have no patience to queue up and I wished there was a way in without queuing. Unfortunately they do not accept reservation. Or so I thought. But it turns out a friend has a connection and so one evening we hitched a ride on her connection and finally got to experience the magic of Koh Grill.
Koh Grill is a typical Japanese food outlet. Its label its menu with “Shiok” for those food that is it house speciality but of course everybody in the knows come for its maki or more precisely, the Shiok Maki of which they have several variations.

Are they really that good? Let just say I can go back and eat this many time over and over again without getting sick of it. 

Street Food of Tokyo

Tokyo was not some place where we expected to find street food but we did came across some gems.

Like while stumbling around in Shunjuku one night, we found this back alley where there were a whole lot of small little outlet selling Yakitori and noodles. These are really small outlet like this one here which can only seat at most 6 persons in front of the counter.

There were a few variety of skewered meat wrapped over different sort of vegetables and mushroom.


Nothing really spectacular about the food except for the below bowl of curry like food filled with what I believes are the left over from the making of the Yakitori. This was really good. 
Just a short walk away from the above was a soba stall which had a perpetual queue. One reason for the queue was that the place can only sit 8 persons so everybody wait their turn for some one to finish, sit down, order and gulp down the gigantic bowl of noodle and then goes off. 


Of course, we being food loving Singaporean, we got to join the queue and wolf down the bowl of noodle despite us just finishing the Yakitori. By the way, the bowl of noodle only cost Y300!

Just before our hotel, there was this little mobile truck selling Sweet Potato. M bought 2 to try. She said they are very soft. I think they have been cooked to death!

At Asakusa, there were stalls after stalls of snack food. Most time we don’t know what they are but that did not stop us from buying everything that looks good which practically mean every stall.

Some sort of pastry which comes in different flavours like green tea and strawberry.

This store had the longest queue

 And the Princess with their produce – a huge polo bun

 Master chef making some sort of hot dog.

And M enjoying it
Another Chef doing something else
And that me with the result.

Not really a lot of street food but what was available was good although I think they are not too healthy. But heck, I will have regretted it forever if I didn’t try any of them!

Ramen Kagetsu Arashi

I like Ramen and whenever a new outlet from some famous chain in Japan opens, I try to go sample the food.  So one evening, the kid recommended the Ramen Kagetsu Arashi at Tampines One. He has not dine there himself but seen the queue so the thinking must be – it must be good, right?
Ramen Kagetsu Arashi as the restaurant proudly proclaims in its menu is one of the largest chain in Japan and is famed for its Tonkatsu based soup. 

We ordered 3 different type of ramen:

Arashi Genkotsu Ramen
Arashi Toripaitan Ramen
Arashi Genkotsu Barikara Ramen 
And I must say I am rather disappointed. They used hard boiled egg instead of soft boiled eggs. I can live with that if that is the way they serve the eggs in all their outlets but what I did not like was the noodle itself. The noodle were soggy and overcooked. The broth was just average and not as favorful as I expected. 
I remarked to the others that I am pretty sure the chefs are not Japanese but students and true enough when we looked into the open concept kitchen, all we could see was a few young kids dishing out the food. And that is obviously the problem with most food chain outlets here. Everything is pre-defined and the young part timers just need to follow a pre-determined timing pour in the prepacked ingredients, dump in the noodles and volia – food is served. So what we get is a mechanically sound food cooked without passion. Which is fine if I get to pay fast food type of prices but unfortunately, this is not the case.

Ikoi Japanese Restaurant

The 3rd Japanese buffet restaurant. This one is a bit more famous than the other 2 earlier one. Reservation have to be made weeks in advance. Unfortunately, didn’t think that the food was up to its reputation and price. 
The menu was less exhaustive than Shin Mindori but was pricer. Service was so so and some of the items we asked for took forever to come. Some never did.
Anyway, here are some pics of the food that we had:

Curry rice which was one of those dish that took a long long time to come

Single serving ramen.
This teapot contains a special soup which was not on the menu but served complimentary
The single serving size of the sashimi

Overall, was kinda disappointed with the food. Maybe it was because I was sick that day and didn’t appreciate the food but somehow I felt that it was not so worth it and not deserving of the long reservation time. Far better to walk in to Shin Minori or the many others out there.

Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet: Shin Minori Japanese Restaurant

Most of the recent posts are all about food. Not that I have nothing to write but since I have been going to  new food place, I think I need to capture a bit of the memory before I forget which place I have been to.
Recently, I discovered this wonderful thing called ala-carte Japanese buffet. I have always thought buffet is those available in the hotels restaurants or in Chinese restaurant but didn’t know that it also exists for Japanese food. Quite surprising since Japanese food is pretty expensive. And another interesting thing I discovered was that there are actually a few outlets offering them and almost all of them price the buffet at S$35.00 which is pretty affordable.
The first place we went to was Momoya in Bedok. The next place was Shin Minori at UE Square and next month will be going to Ikoi at Miramar Hotel.
The first thing that strikes me when I walked into Shin Minori is that it is quite dimly lit. It was worse at Momoya which is why there is no photo of the food at Momoya.
Shin Mimori has a nice counter for customers to sit and watch the chefs prepare the food. But because our group was big, we didn’t sit there. They have a menu listing all the food available. The menu is nicely divided into the different type of Japanese food but the prints are so small and in the dim light, it was so difficult for old Uncle like me to read so I left it to the younger folks to just order and I just eat!

One of the items available is the “One mouth” crab. Didn’t know what it was or what specie of crab it was until the food came. Why One mouth crab? Because the whole crab is so small it can eaten in one mouth – shell and all!

One of our favourite was the grilled pork belly. Sort of like our satay without the sauce. But the fat was really wobbly fat. Still we had 3 servings of it.

They even have a very simple dish like the taugay.

 We also ordered the grilled mackerel. It is one fish per order and again we ordered 3 to share among the 8 of us.

 One of my favourite is the handroll. There are not much variety available but what they have comes nicely presented in trays.

 The best was of course the sashimi. They have almost the full complement of fresh fish and cuttlefish as well.

We also had pizza, soup, skipped the udon and ramen but still left feeling very full. Really good value for money considering the amount of food we gobbled down.