July 18, 2016
The three words “Japan Food Town” should be enough to get anyone really excited already, but there are so many other things about this new 20,000 square-foot space on level 4 of Wisma Atria, which just opened over the weekend, which has just cemented its status as our ultimate new dining destination.
First off, there are sixteen outlets to choose from in there (four of which have yet to begin operations, but all will be open by the end of July 2016). They’ve got most of Japanese cuisine covered: be it sashimi, ramen, udon, shabu shabu, and even sake – as long as you name it, Japan Food Town’s probably got it.
Secondly, and more importantly, everything we tried there proved to be of consistent high quality, but the dishes don’t break the bank. This is all thanks to the bulk import of the ingredients direct from Japan, via the Okinawa Prefecture, which is relatively closer to Singapore, to keep costs as low as possible, so whatever ends up on the menu becomes surprisingly affordable, especially considering how good it is.
At the media preview, we went on a whirlwind tasting of all the outlets that are currently open, and below are the ones that stood out the most. But really, everything‘s good at the Japan Food Town – so grab all your friends and head there for a completely authentic Japanese feast, but be warned: we expect the crowds to get pretty crazy.
We love onigiris (Japanese rice balls) in general, but we love the ones from Bonta Bonta even more, because this Tokyo establishment uses some kind of magical rice, i.e. Kinmemai rice, which is a kind of gourmet Japanese brown rice that added a whole different element to the onigiris we tried. It had an especially light yet crisp taste, and fully brought out the various toppings that included unagi, mentaiko and pickled seaweed.
This ramen establishment specialises in a super-rich tonkatsu broth – we’ve seriously never tried anything as flavourful as this one. The noodles are reminiscent of egg noodles, thicker than most other ramen noodles; you get to fully customise your bowl of ramen, from the thickness of the broth, level of flavoured oil added, and the texture of the noodles.
Tsukiji Sushi Takewaka
Having a bit of Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market right here in Wisma Atria is more than what we could have ever asked for, but that’s exactly what the Tsukiji Sushi Takewaka brings to the Japan Food Town. The sashimi we sampled was as fresh as ever, but we think you’ll want to try the Kaisendon, with fresh tuna, salmon, crab, scallop, ikura and tamago, all going at under $25.
Udon noodles from Japan’s Akita Prefecture come thin and super-soft, and when dipped in shoyu or sesame sauce at Inaniwa Yosuke, it makes for a light, refreshing meal. Have it served hot or cold; we recommend the latter in the sesame sauce option – unexpectedly delicious when topped off with ginger.
Sabar has proven to be a favourite among many who’ve tried the offerings at Japan Food Town, and we get why – we’ve never had mackerel done so right. They serve 38 different kinds of mackerel, everything’s ridiculously fresh, and even if you’re usually not a mackerel fan, you need to try the Toro-Saba-Zuke bowl that features a special Toro Saba, meant to be eaten raw. The flame-seared saba sushi is also worth a try.
Rang Mang Shokudo
It’s about time to take a break from all that Korean fried chicken, and have it Japanese-style instead, in the form of chicken karaage at Rang Mang Shokudo, which serves it up crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside – what fried chicken should be, basically. We tried it in two flavours, shoyu sauce and an unusual yuzu pepper version, both of which worked really well.
Japan Food Town, #04-39/54 Wisma Atria. Open 11am to 11pm daily.