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Food Picks: Oyakodon at Tori Sanwa; summer menus at Golden Peony and Noka

Oyakodon at Tori Sanwa 

Oyakodon – Japanese-style rice bowl with chicken and egg – is one of those foods usually underrated because of its simplicity.

The famed oyakodon chain Tori Sanwa from Nagoya, which made its debut last week at Raffles City Shopping Centre, shines the spotlight on this comforting dish. 

Its classic oyakodon ($12.90) features chicken chunks and soft scrambled eggs simmered with a flavourful dashi made with soya sauce, malt and bonito flakes. 

The chicken and eggs used at Tori Sanwa are not from Japan, but that does not seem to make much of a difference taste-wise.   

Aside from the standard oyakodon, there is an aburi version ($14.90), where the chicken is torched. I had high hopes, but feel that the chicken can be charred a lot more to elevate the dish. 

Other menu highlights are the chicken cutlet on rice ($14.90) and chicken teriyaki hitsumabushi ($15.90). 

The latter dish is normally associated with a Nagoya style of savouring unagi on rice. Here, the grilled eel is swopped out for teriyaki chicken instead. 

After eating a portion of the meat and rice, mix the rest with seaweed, spring onions and wasabi, followed by the flavourful chicken broth. 

This same broth is served with the other dishes, along with pickles and chawanmushi.

For selected sets, add $3 for two pieces of karaage and hojicha.

Tori Sanwa started out as a shop supplying chicken feed in 1900 and, over the decades, expanded into operating a chicken farm and other food-and-beverage concepts that focus on chicken-related products. 

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There are 92 Tori Sanwa outlets in Japan and six branches in Taiwan.

Its entry into Singapore is via listed company Japan Foods Holding. The company runs several Japanese franchised brands including ramen restaurant Afuri, tendon chain Akimitsu and gyoza specialist Osaka Ohsho, which has a branch next to Tori Sanwa at the same mall.

Where: Tori Sanwa, B1-75 Raffles City Shopping Centre, 252 North Bridge RoadMRT: City HallOpen: 11.30am to 10pm dailyInfo: www.instagram.com/torisanwasg

Golden Peony’s Summer Tea Pairing Menu 

Executive Chinese chef Ku Keung of Golden Peony restaurant has launched the summer edition of its tea-pairing menu ($68++ for lunch, $108++ for dinner). 

Two teas complement the dishes served. The white peony tea is said to have cooling and detoxification effects, while the mandarin pu’er – a black tea encased in mandarin orange skin – aids digestion. 

Highlights from the lunch and dinner menus include half lobster fragrant poached rice in superior lobster broth; and a trio of snacks featuring a pani puri-inspired crispy minced duck in a spherical dough fritter, London duck pancake roll and Sichuan-style chicken. 

Other delights are the double-boiled peony bird’s nest soup with crab meat and conpoy in a winter melon; and baked Iberico spare rib infused with red yeast sauce. 

Besides the tea-pairing menu, chef Ku has also rolled out a selection of his signature Hong Kong-style claypot rice dishes ($42++ to $176++), featuring preserved cured meats such as Chinese sausage, liver sausage, waxed duck and waxed meat. 

After the rice is portioned out, you can opt to add conpoy and mushroom in the chef’s superior broth (from $20++) to the pot. 

The soup incorporates all the delicious oils and flavours from the rice and makes for a winning finale to the meal. 

Where: Golden Peony, Level 3 Conrad Centennial Singapore, 2 Temasek BoulevardMRT: PromenadeWhen: Till Sept 3, 11.30am to 2.30pm (weekdays), 11.30am to 3pm (weekends and public holidays), 6.30 to 10.30pm dailyTel: 6432-7482/7488Info: eatdrinkhilton.com/golden-peony

Noka’s Kaiseki Summer Menu 

I have vague memories of dining at Japanese restaurant Noka when it first opened in 2019 at Funan. 

I do not remember being particularly impressed with the food, although I applaud the commitment to using local produce from its rooftop urban farm at the same mall. 

After some changes to the menu, the 20-seat Noka has now jumped onto the kaiseki bandwagon. 

It is, of course, not your traditional kaiseki restaurant, although the experience still follows the general flow of the multi-course meal (from $120 for lunch and $200 for dinner). 

The ambience is fairly casual, so it is not intimidating for first-timers to a kaiseki meal. 

Helming Noka is Japanese chef Ryosuke Deguchi, whose background is in Michelin-starred kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto. 

I give the $120 lunch menu a go and am pleased to say it is a marked improvement from my previous meal. 

The kitchen still remains focused on using local produce, as seen in the hassun course featuring the Singapore Sushi Roll with negitoro, daikon and colourful flowers from the garden. 

I enjoy the crispy fried ayu with coriander sauce and corn, as well as the red miso-glazed duck with pearl oyster mushroom, eggplant and passionfruit sauce. 

For dessert, I get Japanese sweet potato with sake kasu ice cream, mango and an interesting sauce made from shungiku (Japanese tang oh). I am not thrilled with the sauce, but with all the other components, the dish still works. 

Where: Noka, 07-38/39 Funan, 109 North Bridge RoadMRT: City HallOpen: Noon to 3pm, 6 to 10.30pm, Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on MondaysTel: 6877-4878.Info: www.noka.sg

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