Singapore will now be able to taste authentic Japanese cuisine straight from Japan with the launch of Japan Food Town, Wisma Atria Singapore! The Japan Food Town covers over 20,075 square feet of space and will serve 628 guests at any one time. Located on the 4th level of Isetan Singapore, it will offer close to 16 casual dining outlets offering a broad range of quality and authentic Japanese cuisine at affordable prices. The Food Town provides a multi-sensorial expression of the Japanese culture and culinary gems brought together under one roof. While only 12 tenants have started service as of now, Japan Food Town promises that all outlets will be fully opened by August.
With an investment of approximately SGD 8.5 million dollars, Japan Food Town is the collaboration’s first project to be launched outside of Japan, and is a joint venture established by Cool Japan Fund, a public-private fund, in collaboration with Japan Association of Overseas Promotion for Food & Restaurants (JAOF) and its corporate supporters. Mr Makoto Yoshikawa, Managing Director of Japan Food Town Development Pte Ltd and Board Member of JAOF shares, “We wish to increase people’s familiarity with Japan’s rich food culture around the world, however, a number of Japanese early-stage companies and SMEs have found it a challenge to expand their businesses overseas in countries such as Singapore due to difficulties such as ingredient procurement, securing of personnel, and acquisition of real estate. Through this project, the selected restaurants will be able to clear the toughest hurdles of overseas development and focus on offering consumers in Singapore with the same high level of service and food quality one would expect in Japan.”
The Japan Food Town Difference
This unique food hall concept is a capsule collection of curated stories representing Japanese cuisine; every restaurant has a story, such as the bowl of Inaniwa Udon by Inaniwa Yosuke, enriched with more than a century of history. Each restaurant has been hand-picked based on its strong reputation and rich heritage dating back centuries.
Japan Food Town will also showcase the freshest ingredients from Japan. All 16 tenants will procure more than 50% of their ingredients directly from Japan, fresh, in some cases on a daily basis via Okinawa Prefecture, as part of the collaboration with the Japan Association of Overseas Promotion for Food & Restaurants (JAOF). The bulk procurement will help Japan Food Town is able to keep its menu at an affordable range and introduce unique ingredients such as Matsuzaka Beef, Kinme-Rice, and Kindai Maguro to Singapore.
The 20,075 square foot space sits roughly 628 guests at any one given time. The warm and welcoming interior was designed to bring out ‘MA’, a modern Japanese sense of space. Within the general walking space between outlets, one will notice an artistic use of kitchen tools such as plates and bowls as a means to draw visitors into a deeper sense of anticipation for the Japanese food served in the outlets. Each of the 16 outlets was designed to embrace a unique interior design complimentary to their cuisine, mirroring the design ethos seen at their original outlet in Japan. For example, SABAR features an interior that reflects the brand’s love of mackerel. ‘38’, being a number that sounds like ‘Saba’ (the Japanese word for Mackerel), is reflected throughout the space and in their menu. One will notice that the outlet here seats exactly 38 guests.
We know you are waiting for it. Let us introduce the 16 restaurants and what they offer.
1. Dassai Bar
Imported from Yamaguchi exclusively for Japan Food Town in Singapore, Dassai’s fine sake is a flavourful blend of the old world and new. Refined, top quality rice is painstakingly milled till just the precious fermentable starches remain, an extravagant process that results in sake with an identity; delicate, refined and graceful. Dassai sake originated in Iwakuni, in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Look out for one of the most highly prized, premium range sake, Dassai 50 (a Jyunmaidaiginjyo), sipped by royalty and dignitaries alike at the Dassai Bar. One glass of Dassai 50 can set you back just $13 (90ml glass).
2. Hokkaido Izakaya
Hokkaido’s unique geographical location means access to the best flavours of the sea and the land. Explore the authentic flavours of Hokkaido via delicate soba handcrafted from the freshest Hokkaido ingredients.
Hokkaido Izakaya serves the best of Hokkaido’s produce from the towns of Yakumo, Akkeshi, Furano and Kamishihoro in a friendly, casual environment. As its name implies, Hokkaido Izakaya hails from Hokkaido as do most of the ingredients it uses.
3. Inaniwa Yosuke
Inaniwa Yosuke is known as Sato Yosuke in Japan. Created in 1860, Sato Yosuke’s Inaniwa udon is an unchanging 150-year old handmade tradition of Akita craftsmanship and skill. Arti- sans work daily to produce Inaniwa udon, a three-day labour of love that transforms clear water, carefully selected salt and our into silky, chewy udon that is unmistakably Inaniwa. Sato Yosuke’s original outlet is based in Chuo, Tokyo.
4. Bonta Bonta
To simply call Bonta Bonta’s Onigiri, rice balls would be an injustice. Bonta Bonta’s rice is first specially selected by a rice sommelier, and processed to the highest standards to qualify as Kinmemai – low-calorie brown rice with high nutritional values. Taste the difference in this artisanal version of the humble rice ball, each lovingly handmade and served with piping hot miso soup. One can find queues of happy customers outside their original shop in Toshima, Tokyo.
5. Yomoda Soba
“Yomoda” can mean many things – Carefree, Easy-going– but most of all, it is a word to be used for friends, to see things on the lighter side of life. That warm, carefree sense of fun is exactly the kind of feeling that Yomoda stands for. That is the kind of atmosphere you will find at Yomoda Soba.
Favoured by locals and celebrities alike, Yomoda boasts fresh, quality soba made on-site, served with heartful hospitality at a surprisingly affordable price.
You will definitely want to try a bowl of their Hot Spicy Soy Milk Chicken Soba (priced at $22) which gives a “cool heat” to the tongue while the buckwheat soba noodles are served up with a gentle bite.
6. Nabe Seizan
The original Seizan restaurant in Japan is a 2-Michelin starred Kaiseki restaurant currently helmed by the Tokyo- born chef Haruhiko Yamamoto. The young chef, who is only 35 years old, opened his restaurant in April 2011. Chef Yamamoto strives to bring out the true flavour of each ingredient rather than rely solely on sauces.
Chef Yamamoto now brings the hearty Nabe cuisine to Singapore at Japan Food Town with the same quality and dedication that earned him 2 Michelin stars. He put together a tantalising menu which will introduce a unique “Nabe” experience to diners here. Seizan’s original outlet is located in Mita, Minato in Tokyo.
Saba or Mackerel has been used in Japanese cuisine in Singapore for decades, and the name “Sabar” would automatically suggest that their menu has something to do with mackerel. But Sabar is more than just that, the store specialises in cuisine revolving around the use of mackerel as the star ingredient.
Even in Japan, Sabar’s positioning is unique, with little to no other restaurants specialising in mackerel cuisine. Sabar’s goal is to make the word “saba” a universal term like geisha, sushi or karaoke. Quite ambitious, but one taste of their food and you’ll understand they are on their way. Another anecdote about them- you will find a lot of symbolism in their restaurant with the number 38, which sounds like ‘Saba’ in Japanese. They love mackerel, and it is used playfully all around their outlet.
Sabar uses top quality mackerel from Aomori to for their 38 different mackerel dishes. Saba is not usually served raw, often seen cured or grilled, however SABAR uses a specially cultivated mackerel (Toro Saba) which is perfect for eating raw. For a taste of the freshest mackerel, try the Toro-Saba-Zuke bowl (priced at $18) which includes an umami-flavoured soy sauce marinade with the fresh, raw saba.
8. Osaka Kitchen
Osaka Kitchen brings you the most famous dishes Osaka has to offer – Teppanyaki using Wagyu beef and Okonomiyaki cooked lovingly and with dedication on a sizzling hot plate right in front of you. Yakisoba is another popular dish which will be available on the menu that compliments Teppanyaki cuisine perfectly. This outlet is your best chance to taste the freshly cooked flavours of Osaka.
But what you’d really want to look out for would be their Japanese Omelette with Pork Belly (priced at $8). The omelette is cooked to perfection, with just the right silky texture which compliments the grilled pork belly, which simply melts in the mouth.
9. Sushi Takewaka
Takewaka’s first shop started about 28 years ago in Tsukiji, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. Sushi is only at its best when the ingredients are fresh and full of flavour, and that’s exactly what you get at Takewaka. Carefully selected good quality fish and seafood will be prepared by their skilful and humble chef. Sushi Takewaka comes from Tokyo and is a sushi speciality shop.
Machida-shoten is known for “Iekei”, which translates directly to “house-type”, from the kanji “家”, or noodles that are cooked to your specified softness or hardness. Machida-Shoten brings you a thick, earthy Tonkotsu ramen broth coupled with thicker-than-usual ramen noodles made by the company themselves, back in Japan.
The outlet allows you to choose the level of bite you prefer in your noodles, the thickness of the broth and the level of flavoured oil they add. They will even send the bowl back if it is still not to your preference. We recommend the Tonkotsu Spicy Ramen (Priced at $15) which features mouth-watering silky braised pork loin that falls apart to the touch. Michida-Shoten comes from the Kanagawa Prefecture.
11. Tempura Tsukiji Tenka
Some of the nest Japanese chefs honed their craft at Tokyo Sushi Academy, Japan’s top traditional culinary academy. This is the first restaurant the academy is opening in Singa- pore, featuring Tempura and Donburi by Tokyo Sushi Academy graduates, exclusively for Japan Food Town.
The team behind Tsukiji Tempura Tenka have long expertise in recognising and working with only the freshest of seafood straight from the fish market, and that is exactly what you get when you bite into crisp Tempura, or help yourself to one of their Donburi bowls. For a start, dig into a bowl of their popular Kaisendon (priced at $24.80) which features a mixture of fresh tuna, salmon, crab, tamago, Scallops and Ikura to form a delicious eclectic flavour party for your palate.
12. Yakiniku Heijyoen
Yakiniku Heijyoen treats their beef like fine wine, carefully procuring only top quality black hair wagyu from all over Japan, for quality that is consistent year-round.Before the beef even sees the kitchen, it is aged first for tenderness, and to bring out a deeper concentration of beef taste and flavour. Yakiniku Heijyoen goes by the name Heijyoen in Japan. Heijyoen’s main outlet is in Tokyo, Japan.
13. Shabu Shabu Tajimaya
Shabu Shabu Tajimaya is known as Gyuta in Japan. Gyuta is a humble eatery from Hyogo that’s operated on a simple motto since 1997: “Good quality food with reasonable price”. Try their beef and vegetable bu et Shabu Shabu or Sukiyaki, and you’ll quickly realise they’ve over-accomplished their motto with amazing quality food and amazingly reasonable prices.
14. Rang Mang Shokudo
This isn’t just fried chicken, this is artisanal fried chicken. Tokyo’s Rang Mang Shokudo fried chicken is marinated in buttermilk for 6 hours, and fried twice in low heat for an umami that elevates fried chicken beyond fast food. Try it for yourself and see the difference – then wash it all down with their signature frozen lemon cocktail. Rang Man Shokudo comes from Tokyo, Japan.
Anzu prepares everything from fresh Kyushu produce, and they don’t just serve fresh vegetables – they grow it themselves too. They’ve brought their signature dishes to Japan Food Town, including their top quality Japanese Black Haired Pork, deep- fried and served with homemade sauce, then plated on delicate Imari porcelain.
All outlets will commence operations in July, while Yakiniku Heijoen is set to open by August. Here is the full information of Japan Food Town:
Japan Food Town
Address: 435 Orchard Rd, #04-39/54 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, Singapore 238877 | Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm (Daily) | Prices: Starting from S$10 | Total Seating Capacity: 628 pax | Website: www.japanfoodtown.sg | Facebook: japanfoodtown
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