From salmon chirashi to barachirashi, these rice bowls containing fresh sashimi will leave you happily stuffed
Everyone loves a good sushi – well, most people at least – but there are times when a small piece of raw fish over rice doesn’t quite feel… substantial enough. What’s probably better, then, is a filling bowl of chirashi-don. In case you’re not entirely sure what that is, it’s vinegared sushi rice topped with assorted raw fish. Chirashi is almost always available at most Japanese restaurants in Singapore, but let’s not waste our calories on unworthy contenders. The next time you’re craving for that perfect bowl, hit up these instead. We’ll accept your “domo arigato” in advance.
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka
Want to be served by the future master chefs of Japan? Graduates of the prestigious Tokyo Sushi Academy, one of Japan’s top traditional culinary institutions, helm the kitchen at Tempura Tsukiji Tenka at Japan Food Town. Their kaisendon ($24.80) is irresistible if you feel like chowing down on a chirashi-don – sushi rice topped with a heap of salmon sashimi, tuna, sea bream, salmon roe and tamago.
Japan Food Town, Lvl 4 Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877, p. 6694 6535. Open daily 11am-11pm.
Sen Of Japan
We know the pain of sharing a scrumptious chirashi-don when we want it all for ourselves (we’re greedy at times), but you just might have to with a bowl this enormous. We’re talking about Sen Of Japan’s big bowl aburi chirashi don ($75++); this beast is so colossal, it feeds up to four diners with an assortment of premium sashimi that’s charred to perfection.
Sen Of Japan, #01-86 Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972, p. 6688 7426.
Located right beside Teppei – that’s notorious for having a staggering waiting list for its omakase – Hana-Hana is the place to swing by for its equally-tempting bara chirashi-don. Think thick, diced cubes of salmon, tuna and yellowtail drenched in a sweet-savoury sauce – yup, this here’s gonna be your new lunch BFF.
Hana-Hana, #01-17 Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link, Singapore 078867, p. 6222 7363
While famed for its happy-hour oysters from 5pm to 8pm – you really can’t go wrong with $2 oysters – Tanuki Raw is also where you can tuck into hearty bowls of chirashi-dons. The salmon kaisen ($16) is a dream for salmon lovers; imagine a treasure trove of mentaiko-seared salmon sashimi, aburi salmon belly, cubed spicy salmon, and ikura. While the Tanuki kaisen chirashi ($24.90) features a more varied bounty of seafood.
Tanuki Raw, #02-03 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896, p. 6636 5949.
If it’s tuna donburi you’re particularly fond of, we have news for you. Kuro Maguro (which translates to bluefin tuna) is an exciting new donburi-focused dining concept that offers diners 18 donburi dishes, utilising air-flown ingredients directly from Japan. On the menu are classics like the otoro meshi with delightfully fat-marbled tuna belly, as well as salmon oyako meshi with salmon chunks and juicy roe.
Kuro Maguro, 7 Wallich Street #01-04 Singapore 078884.
It’s an unassuming spot, but the chirashi-don here is renowned. Thick sashimi slices of salmon, scallop, swordfish, sea bream, snapper, and a little bit of everything else should make you weak in the knees. And it’s only $28!
Wasabi Tei, #05-70 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213, p. 6238 8216.
With its stylish, modern interior and devoted chefs, this intimate restaurant serves a myriad of chirashi-dons. Opt for the chirashi teishoku ($52) for assorted sashimi on sushi rice, or the bara chirashi teishoku ($42) if you like your sashimi diced and sliced. Wanna really up your game? The santoku teishoku ($66) features a premium selection of uni (urchin), ikura (salmon roe) and toro (tuna belly) – treat your Japanese business counterparts to this and you’ll really seal the deal.
Misaki, #02-08, MBFC Tower 3, 2 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018984, p. 6443 1187
A favourite amongst Japanese expats, Tampopo is frequented for its black pig shabu ramen and prime cuts of tonkatsu meat. But if you’re craving some of the freshest sashimi in town, you can’t go wrong with its Special 11 Kind of Chirashi Sushi for variety, or its Hokkaido Chirashi that even includes sweet shrimp and crab meat.
Tampopo, #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, Singapore 179030, p. 6338 3186.
Megumi Japanese Restaurant
Probably one of the country’s best-kept secrets, this Japanese establishment has one of the most value-for-money chirashi-dons ($16.80) – where sashimi slices are fresh and slightly oversized.
Megumi Japanese Restaurant, #01-03, 77 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455218, p. 6243 0700.
The Sushi Bar
Don’t bother getting gussied up for this no-frills spot, which serves irresistible bowls of chirashi in three different price tags – according to the “grade” and amount of toppings. The $19.90 option gets you the basic mix of sashimi; while the $24.90 option gives you more ikura (salmon roe) and scallops; and finally, the higher-tier premium option sees the addition of sweet shrimp and – gasp! – uni.
The Sushi Bar, #04-28 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213, p. 9653 6464.
Prices are comparatively steep here, but absolutely worth the splurge. $50 gets you a barachirashi bowl with fresh sashimi chunks, with appetiser, soup and dessert.
Sushi Mitsuya, #01-01, 60 Tras Street, Singapore 078999, p. 6438 2608.