If you’re a Japanese foodie like us, you’ll be thrilled to know that you don’t have to get on the next flight out just to fulfil your cravings for authentic Japanese cuisine. The beauty of Japanese food is that every region has its own specialty, ingredients and style of cooking: ramen from Sapporo, monja-yaki from Tokyo, yodofu from Kyoto and okonomiyaki from Hiroshima. If you’re tired of the Japanese chains, we’ve gone the distance to make your life a little easier the next time a craving for curry or ramen hits. Here, four restaurants that are definitely worth a try.
It doesn’t get any more authentic than Takayama’s well-grounded Japanese cuisine. At this upscale kappo-style restaurant, Executive Chef Taro Takayama curates a medley of authentic Japanese offerings based on the “Rules of Five” in the multi-course menu. Besides using seasonal fresh ingredients at the peak of their flavours, Chef Taro stays rooted to the tradition of including the five colours - black, white, red, yellow and green in every meal. Let the chefs take you on a culinary adventure as they whip up beautifully-plated Japanese cuisine influenced by Osaka's food culture right before your eyes. Don’t miss out on their signature steamed Abalone+Uni that is only available for dinner, charcoal-grilled Kumamoto wagyu beef, and winter truffle with foie gras that will prompt you to go “Oishii”.
Takayama is located at #01-09/10
Indulge in a bowl of traditional Buta Don from Hokkaido - deceptively simple but utterly satisfying, the pork slices are coated in a Hokkaido specialty tare sauce, grilled to a nice golden-brown, then served atop premium Yumepirika rice. Created by Head Chef Junko Goto, the Buta Don is the most popular, but if you are up for other options, there’s also the Yakitori Don and Salmon Don. Appetizing sides include the Hokkaido imomochi cheese and crab cream croquettes, recommended as add-ons for an even more gratifying experience at Tokachi Tontaro.
Tokachi Tontaro is located at #03-20
Here’s a different way to take your Japanese curry. A temple to Hokkaido Soup Curry, Sama Curry’s version will convince you to slurp up every tasty drop. Their recipe starts with ramen-style broth as the base, mixed with tomato, coconut or shrimp to turn it into a full-bodied soup, before adding curry spices. Spice lovers will rejoice in their 3 customisable categories of spice levels – Baby Bear, Adult Bear and Crazy Bear – that go up to level 30 in terms of heat. Pick a type of curry (options include Marathon Chicken, Oink Oink Hamburg and more), a spice level and then your preferred choice of soup base. You can choose to have it with rice or noodles, but we like to take a sip of the curry, dunk a spoonful of rice in our bowls and then savour the rich curry-soaked grains.
SAMA Curry is located at #03-26
If you’re sick of pork broth ramen, consider trying Marutama Ra-men’s unique chicken broth ramen. Created by Chef Tetsuya Kudo, Marutama Ra-men is known for its chicken soup base, the “Toripaitan Soup”. Tuck into their signature ramen bowl served with Hakata-styled Ramen noodles topped with tender Char Siew, spring onions, and seaweed that will make your dining experience an unforgettable one. You can also customise the ramen bowl to your preference by topping it up with a Ajitsuke Tamago (half boiled seasoned egg) and deep-fried garlic slices for a more flavourful kick.
Marutama Ra-Men is located at #03-25