Yakitori restaurant serves cold chicken in gelatin
A Tokyo yakitori restaurant has created "cool yakitori" for summer by encasing meat in cold gelatin.
Seasoned skewers of grilled chicken are excellent things to eat during the summer, but they aren’t exactly cool and refreshing. To rectify that situation, one Tokyo yakitori restaurant has invented a new kind of summer dish by encasing its traditional grilled meat skewers in blocks of cold gelatin to create a summer yakitori that is cold and moist, if a bit unusual looking.
The gelatin reportedly ensures that the summer yakitori remain exceptionally moist, because any juice that would run out of the meat is retained in the gelatin. That structure theoretically preserves all the flavor of the yakitori, even if the end product looks like a cold chicken popsicle.
According to RocketNews24, the “cool yakitori” are the creation of the Zenyaren yakitori restaurant in Tokyo’s financial district. A two-skewer order of cool yakitori runs 380 yen, or about $3.75, and includes one skewer each of chicken meatballs and pork cheek yakitori, each encased in a large block of cold, collagen gelatin. Zenyaren is limiting its cool yakitori sales to 20 plates a day.
15 Japanese Desserts to Celebrate the Seasons
Holiday baking is now in full swing. There will be pies, tarts, cookies, cakes, breads, and sweets of all sorts. If you are looking to change things up a little or sneak in some surprises to the usual repertoire this year, you’re in luck!
We came up with some really festive Japanese desserts, from most popular Japanese desserts to wagashi (Japanese confectionery) that will impress your guests without stressing you out. Some of the recipes freeze well and can be make-ahead for your gift-giving throughout the month. There’s no better time to give these celebratory desserts!
10 Sensational Stops for Japanese Food in Shinjuku, Tokyo
If you're visiting Tokyo for business or pleasure, there's a good chance you'll be staying in the Shinjuku area. Arrive at night, and you'll feel like an alien (or perhaps a replicant?) amidst all the neon in the Blade Runner-like atmosphere. And while amazing Japanese food surrounds you, that alien feeling may challenge you in navigating the streets (addresses are difficult in Japan), not to mention the menus, and perhaps even the basic how-tos of ordering and etiquette.
Another challenge for visitors to Japan: deciding where and what to eat in the limited time you have. Walk around, and you'll hear chefs thwacking ramen noodles and diners slurping them up, smell meat cooking on skewers over charcoal, and see colorful displays of Japanese and Western sweets in department store windows. Where to begin? Read on for a list of essential Japanese dishes to eat in Tokyo and our favorite spots to enjoy them, all right in the Shinjuku area.
For Ramen: Fu-unji
Shinjuku's blessed with a bounty of great ramen shops. Ichiran offers "privacy booths" to eat tonkotsu ramen, Menya Musashi serves Tokyo-style shoyu broth, and Nagi has bitter niboshi broth in the colorful Golden Gai district. But for something a little more unique, I recommend Fu-unji. There's likely to be a line on the street, and when you look under the noren (the distinctive fabric curtain hanging in the doorway of many restaurants), you'll see the line continue, people filing along patiently behind the 12 or so counter seats. But dining in Japan means eating ramen as intended: quickly. No sitting around sipping cocktails seats turn quickly.
Once inside, choose your ramen and pay at the vending machine, which will print out a ticket that you'll eventually hand to one of the ramen chefs, along with your portion preference—small, medium, and large are all the same price. Noodle soup is an option, but almost everyone's getting tokusei tsukemen (1,000 yen, or about $10), with thicker, chewier noodles served alongside a creamy double broth made from fish and chicken. Inside the broth, you'll find pieces of rich, tender pork, delicate nori, menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), and a soft-cooked egg. Grab some noodles with your chopsticks, dip them in the broth, and slurp away. Once you're done with the noodles, you can grab a pitcher from the ledge above and add dashi to the remaining broth to make a drinkable soup. When you're done, just place the bowl back on the ledge and say "gochisousama deshita" to thank the chef.
2-14-3, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053
For Tonkatsu: Katsukura
If you prefer your pork in heartier form, tonkatsu is for you. Katsukura, located on the 14th floor of the Takashimaya Times Square shopping complex, is a convenient and reliable place to get your hands on this breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. Here, the queue will be seated, so slide along until your table or counter seat is ready. Katsukura has an English menu your best bet is the prix fixe, which is cheapest at lunch and comes with free refills of rice, a creamy miso soup with daikon and wakame, shredded cabbage, and pickled vegetables. (I inevitably request the cabbage basket, which makes for a refreshing counterpoint to the fried pork.) Choose between the rosu, or pork loin, and hire (pork fillet). The fillet is softer and leaner, but the fattier loin packs more flavor. Since you're doing the deep-fried thing anyway, why not enjoy a little more fat, and at a lower price, to boot? I also recommend upgrading from the basic pork to a higher quality one—on the set menu, 120 grams of Tohen pork is 2120 yen, or about $21.
Once your order's placed, you'll get a mortar full of sesame seeds, so get to work with the pestle and grind that down. When it's ready, you'll add your preferred tonkatsu sauce—the large ceramic crock is sweeter the medium a little thicker. (The small ceramic crock contains yuzu dressing for the shredded cabbage, though some people like the tonkatsu sauce on the cabbage, as well.) The pork comes quickly, perfectly fried and placed on a rack, though there's no visible grease. It's so juicy that I sometimes eat it without the sauce, though I actually love it it with a dab of karashi (Japanese hot mustard) that you'll find amidst the condiments on the table.
Takashimaya Times Square complex, 14F, 5-24-2, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0051
For Udon: Mentsu-dan
Mentsu-dan's udon noodles aren't just super fresh—they're actually made right before your eyes. Upon arrival, you'll be greater by a towering illustrated menu board, especially helpful since everything's in Japanese. Red means a warm preparation, while blue is cold some udon dishes can go either way. First timers should consider going for a cold preparation, which will best highlight the noodles' hallmark firm, chewy texture.
Give your order to the person stationed right in front of the noodle-maker and you'll get your requested bowl in record time. I like the bukkake udon, which is "splashed" with tsuyu, or dashi sauce (a large bowl is 460 yen, or about $4.50). From here, it's over to the agemono station, where you take the tongs and choose some deep-fried delights at the indicated à la carte price (most cost about 100 yen). Pictured above are gesso (squid tentacles) and korokke (croquette, this one meat and potato). Closer to the cashier are three toppings marked zero yen, so take as much as you'd like: tenkasu (tempura bits), negi (leek-like green onion), and shoga (grated ginger). Find seating that suits you, whether a small table, a counter-like setup, or a spot at the big "community table," and dig in. As for beverages, there's a water machine on-hand, or you can buy beer from a coin machine for 400 yen (or chuhai—a highball—for slightly less). Mentsu-dan has a classic feel with natural wood and lots of old, black-and-white photographs of Kagawa prefecture—home of the Sanuki-style udon you're eating.
7-9-15, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023
For Tempura: Tsunahachi
Many find a tempura meal in Japan eye-opening the quality is head and shoulders above what you'll get at most restaurants in America. You can pay a lot for high-end tempura, but Tsunahachi offers a reasonably priced and delicious introduction to this golden meal, and they've been doing it for over 90 years. Expect a line, especially at prime meal hours, and go for lunch for the best deal. You can get a basic tempura set lunch for 1,200 yen (about $12), but for 2,100 yen (about $21) you can upgrade to the chef-recommended Tempura Zen set that includes a few additional pieces of tempura, including melt-in-your-mouth anago (sea eel) which is especially good during the late spring and early summer season. All sets comes with an assortment of tempura: ebi (shrimp), white fish, vegetables, and kakiage (a fried "cake" of shrimp and vegetables combined together). Rice and clam miso soup round out the meal. There's an English menu as well as an instructional page with diagrams to show how to eat the tempura. You can mix grated daikon into tsuyu as a dipping sauce, but I prefer playing with the three colorful dipping salts: traditional sea salt (white), wasabi salt (green), and yukari (shiso) salt (purple). Despite the deep-frying, the tempura is rather light and remarkably greaseless.
3-31-8, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
For Sushi: Kyubey
You'll find a lot of kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) around Shinjuku. It's often better than options stateside, and it's casual, colorful, and cheap. (My favorite in Shinjuku is Numazukou.) But if you want a more traditional, higher quality sushi experience, go to Kyubey. The popular flagship restaurant is in the Ginza district, but there's a branch at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Nishi-Shinjuku. Just take an elevator up to the 7th floor and follow the signs. Once there, you'll be greeted and escorted to one of the two sushi counters.
There's almost no table seating here, so your experience will likely be directly with the sushi chef. (Servers will watch over your other needs attentively, though non-obtrusively.) Kyubey gets pricey for dinner, so lunch again offers the best value, though it's still a splurge with a basic Imari set menu starting at 4,200 yen (about $42, though, like an increasing number of restaurants in Japan, tax is additional, andk unlike most restaurants, you'll also need to pay a small service charge) for 7 nigiri pieces and a roll, plus some miso soup and perhaps a few extras, like tsukemono. The chef will ask if there's anything you don't eat and then start masterfully slicing fish, served a piece at a time. Try not to linger—this is sushi you'll want to eat right away, at optimal fish and rice temperatures. My most recent meal included exquisitely fatty chu-toro (tuna), super-soft aori ika (squid), and fresh, local aji (mackerel) with ginger and negi. Each piece was a work of art, though quickly consumed!
Keio Plaza Hotel 2-2-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8330
For Yakitori: Hajimeya
Some might send you to Omoide Yokocho (literally "Memory Lane," but better known as Piss Alley) to sit in cramped quarters while drinking beer and eating yakitori with Japanese salarymen. The, erm, "atmosphere" is interesting and you'll surely make friends despite the language barrier, but for chicken parts on sticks, I'd instead steer you to Hajimeya, in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku. Of course, Kabukicho's atmosphere is also interesting, since it's as close to a red-light district as you'll find in Japan, but don't worry—it's safe. Here, you'll find ten seats at the counter, plus eight more at the window looking out on the street I like to sit right near the glassed-in grilling area to watch the stick-man in action.
The menu lists some regular yakitori in both Japanese and Romaji (Romanized letters that will allow you to pronounce the items, but not necessarily recognize them ask the chef and he might know in English, or at least point to his body to give you an idea!), but what distinguishes Hajimeya from other places is the toriwasa: chicken that's grilled on the outside, but raw on the inside. The chef uses extraordinarily fresh chicken, so it's generally quite safe to eat. And delicious. The rawness adds another dimension to the textural contrasts that make yakitori so fun to eat. The chicken is grilled over binchotan charcoal and flavored simply with a tare sauce (generally soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar), or just plain old salt. Order as little or as much at a time as you'd like prices range from 129 yen (about $1.25) for torikawayaki, or crispy chicken skin, to 302 yen (about $3) for tebasaki (chicken wings). In addition to the skewers, I heartily recommend "melty" reba (liver), wonderfully tender seseri (neck), and crunchy sunagimo (gizzard), as well as an admittedly more adventurous order of chouchin: ovary combined with an egg that you break for dipping, the whole thing full of rich, earthy flavor.
1-26-7, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
For Horumonyaki: Saiseisakaba
Horumonyaki takes the concept of yakitori (generally chicken) a step further. Specializing in horumon, which means "the parts thrown away," it refers most often to pork and beef offal. As you may have guessed, horumon also refers to hormone, derived from the Greek word hormon, which means to set in motion. Indeed, many Japanese believe that eating horumonyaki makes one genki, or full of stamina. This is the kind of stuff that's especially hard to find in the United States.
For the best introduction, head to Saiseisakaba, which is a stand-up horumonyaki restaurant. You can eat at a counter at the grill, in the window, or grab a table outside the doors and become part of the diverse street scene. The counter is fun, and it's where you'll place your orders—spleen (soft, bloody, and minerally), various stomachs (with various textures), and pig trachea (crunchy, almost like biting pebbles)—à la carte (prices range from 140 yen, or about $1.40, for the basics to 525 yen, or about $5.25, for brains), which the chef passes to you right as they finish cooking. Horumonyaki are best accompanied by beer (my choice), shōchū (a Japanese distilled beverage), or sake. The setting is casual and friendly, full of drinkers, though the interior can get smoky from cooking and cigarettes. Ask for an English menu, but note that not everything translates well, and they're sometimes out of some items (like the penis and "birth canal" that I tried to pair together!). While you're there, you might also try motsuni, which is a miso-flavored stew of intestines and other pig parts, topped with negi. It's an addictive way to end a great horumonyaki meal.
3-7-3, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
For Good, Cheap Food with a View: Tochō
Can you keep a secret? Even most Tokyoites do not know about the room with a view and cheap but delicious eats at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, known as Tochō, for short. It's basically the building's cafeteria (well, technically, two cafeterias) designed to keep employees close during their lunch hours. But it's open to anyone just take a main building elevator to the 32nd floor and follow the crowds. Figuring out the food system can be challenging, but basically you survey the plastic (and real) food scene, find the number of the item you want, go to the ticket machine to buy that item, and then determine which color-coded section of the cooking area to go to for pick-up. (The displays even show each plate's nutritional information.) Collect your chopsticks, napkins, and condiments across from the food pick-up area, and then take your tray to a table, where you'll enjoy an incredible view of Tokyo and mayhaps even a chance to talk with some "salarymen" and "office ladies." But back to the food: it's cheap (prices range from 420 to 680 yen, or roughly $4-7) and represents a spectrum of Japanese food, including noodles, katsu, curry, grilled fish, and Japanese-style Chinese food. The job might be a chore, but the options make it entirely worth the extra legwork.
2-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001
For 1-Star Michelin Dining Under $10: Nakajima
Tokyo tops the world when it comes to Michelin-starred restaurants, but that doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune to enjoy the food at one of these acclaimed establishments. Not far from Shinjuku Station, in the basement floor of one of the city's many nondescript buildings, Nakajima serves up a set menu lunch at a bargain price of only 800 yen (about $8). Iwashi (sardines) are the star of the show during lunchtime. They're available fried with panko, sashimi-style, simmered in dashi with soy sauce (known as nizakana), or, for another 100 yen, prepared in an eggy casserole known as Yanagawa nabe. The set menu comes with miso soup, rice, and tsukemono (the pickled vegetables were daikon and mustard greens the last day I dined there), with green tea available at no additional charge.
In the nizakana preparation, slow simmering keeps the delicate sardine skin intact. Once you pull the flesh from the bone, the meat's oily-rich flavor really shines, thanks to a subtle dashi that lets the fish do most of the talking. In the sashimi prep, the firm slices of raw sardine sparkle with flecks of silver, served alongside wakame (seaweed) and grated ginger, which tends to pair well with silver fish. (I ignore the lemon wedge when I know I'm going to dip the fish in soy sauce.) With pricing and quality this good, it's no surprise that lines start forming at Nakajima before it even opens its doors. While a line that backs up from the basement entrance and climbs the steps to the street may seem intimidating, service is professional and efficient, with tables turning fairly quickly. Counter seats offer a view of the chefs at work, prepping for the dinner service that costs more than ten times the price of lunch.
3-32-5, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
For Sweets: Sadaharu Aoki
I believe a first-time visitor to Japan should stick to Japanese food, with one exception: French-style pastries and sweets. The Japanese excel as bakers, producing magnificent Paris-caliber desserts. When you're in Shinjuku, the best way to sample them is at Isetan department store. You'll want to go to Isetan anyway—the depachika (depato is department store and chika is basement) is a food mecca and Isetan's is one of the best. The sweets section is scintillating, with displays that look more like fine jewelry than edible treats. You'll find an assortment of traditional Japanese sweets, from manjū (dough buns, typically filled with red bean paste) to rakugan (sugar candies) to yōkan (jellied desserts).
The not-too-sweet approach also works well in preparation of Western cakes and pastries. Many bakers make a fascinating version of Mont Blanc, and you'll also find plenty of millefeuille, roll cakes, tarts, and baumkuchen. At Isetan, I specifically recommend a stop at Sadaharu Aoki, based in both Paris and Tokyo. Aoki is a master with matcha (Japanese green tea powder) I like to combine cultures in sampling his matcha croissant (334 yen, or about $3.30), which you can also try plain or with chocolate. Ask when they arrive so you can be sure to get them fresh (and before they run out). Even better is the matcha éclair (408 yen, or about $4, and also available in lemon and caramel). You can't eat these treats on-site, but one of the best parts of the depachika is the thoughtful and smart packaging that goes with every purchase. Note, though, that photography is not allowed in the stores, unless you can manage a stealth photo, as I did here. Shhh!
Hailing all the way from Tokyo, Toridoki is best known for its signature Japanese yakitori dishes. They particularly pride themselves in offering yakitori as authentically as possible, just like how Japanese chefs prepare and serve them back in their homeland. The chicken is all charcoal-grilled, with a total of 11 different parts ranging from seseri (neck) to bonjiri (tail) and yagen nankotsu (soft bone). If you are a first-timer, do try their recommended toridoki — a savoury combination of skewered chicken thigh and breast wrapped in skin.
5. Kare raisu – Curry Rice
Undeniably, Japanese curry rice is among the most loved Japanese dish. Easy to prepare, the Japanese curry has a unique flavor distinct from its Indian origin and British influence. If the usual curry requires several different spices, the Japanese style only needs curry powder, bay leaves, chili, and the secret ingredient, tomato.
Watermelon is my favorite summer fruit. During the summer months, I mostly prefer eating several slices of watermelon. They are not just refreshing but very delicious and perfect fruit to get rid of dehydration. Japanese watermelon comes in different shapes, sizes and colors.
One of the most interesting shapes could be the square watermelon. Here in Japan, people sometimes buy square watermelon not only for eating but also for giving it as a gift to someone. Be aware that if you buy square watermelon or heart shaped watermelon from supermarkets then it would be costly.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Address: 22807 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance
Information: 310-378-3787, koshijiusa.com
When: Lunch, Tuesday-Saturday dinner, Tuesday-Sunday
Details: Beer and sake reservations essential
Atmosphere: Shopping mall yakitori café, always very busy, with a counter to sit at, and an encyclopedic menu of may small dishes, with the yakitori cooked in front in the open kitchen over small grills — just like on Yakitori Street in Tokyo.
Prices: About $35 per person.
Suggested dishes: 42 Yakitori Sticks ($2-$6), Yakitori Chicken Course ($24.50 for 8 sticks), Kushiyaki Combination Course ($25.75 for 8 sticks), 5 Salads ($2.95-$8.95), 12 Cold Dishes ($2.95-$8.50), 32 Side Dishes ($2.50-$9.50), 10 Noodle Dishes ($7.25-$10.25)
Yakitori Akira 焼鶏 あきら
1-10-23 Naka-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Hi Melody, my husband and I made our first trip to Japan in April and I’m writing a big belated THANK YOU for telling us about Akira! Your blog came up while I was researching food, and it was thanks to your recommendation that we went there. It was one of the most charming, fun and delicious meals of our lives. Those meatballs! We went there on a night when there was a neighborhood sakura festival happening up and down the canal, so we sipped sake and warm wine and ate delicious snacks like grilled oysters before our (late) dinner reservation. Such a perfect night! Thanks again for letting us know about it…
I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Isn’t it quite something? Thanks for dropping a line to let me know :)
Enjoy the subtle sweetness of Anmitsu, a traditional Japanese dessert made of gelatin. Anmitsu can be served with a variety of ingredients such as sweet red beans, mochi, chestnuts, fruits, and sweet black syrup. However, there’s no single standard for making Anmitsu. The core ingredients are gelatin, and sweet red bean paste, which makes this popular Japanese dish a light-tasting but sweet treat.
Rockon Tokyo – Kyoto-Style Obanzai Restaurant Opens In Singapore, Omakase At $88. MUST Reserve Early
Rockon Tokyo 六酣東京 is an obanzai (おばんざい) specialty restaurant in Tanjong Pagar, perhaps one of the unusual few you can find in Singapore.
Obanzai is a style of Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto, characterised by nourishing and comforting dishes with home-style recipes passed down the generations. Obanzai cooking heavily relies on vegetables and seafood, using ingredients that are in season, but minimises food wastage.
While the restaurant is called “Rockon Tokyo”, the menu reflects the traditional style of Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto, using fresh ingredients with no MSG nor preservatives.
Not only is home-style obanzai cooking healthy but heartwarming as well.
It is a collaboration between Saitama-native Chef Sekiya Katsuyuki and famed sake sommelier Koki Miyoshi.
As the head chef of Akane, the Japanese Association of Singapore, Chef Sekiya has over 20 years of experience specializing in yakitori, eight of which were honed in Singapore.
Chef Sekiya is known for his grilled delicacies, specialty seafood dons, and other obanzai dishes served hot and cold. He offers something new every two weeks, depending on what is available and in season.
The minimalist interior with elements of natural wood exudes a cosy and intimate ambiance.
This is indeed quite a homey experience because only 22 guests can be seated at any time – so please reserve your seats early
Here are some of Rockon Tokyo’s highlight dishes:
Rock On! Tokyo Treasure Box ($106)
Start off with the essential must-order at Rockon Tokyo – Rock On! Tokyo Treasure Box is indeed a tray full of precious culinary jewels.
This set features a tamago kake gohan, a bowl of steamed Japanese rice topped with an egg – the white comes in a form of meringue then torched while a “well” in the mound of rice to pour the egg yolk into.
The real surprise (sorry I gave it away) comes in the form of white truffle shavings, in which the prized truffle is kept in a limited edition LV ‘bag’.
Break the egg yolk, mix it all up for a creamy, risotto-like texture.
Served separately on a decadent tray are generous plates of uni, caviar, crabmeat and ikura. Savour the flavours of the ocean as you taste each on their own, or mix one or two or all into your luxurious-tasting rice.
Dashimaki Tamago with Double Mentaiko ($24)
Among the hot dishes, try the Dashimaki Tamago with Double Mentaiko especially if you love an egg-centric dish.
This Japanese rolled omelet is prepared by rolling thin layers of beaten egg in a pan like a tamagoyaki. Dashimaki tamago, however, is infused with dashi stock to add an umami flavour.
Double up the flavour as this roll is stuffed with double mentaiko which adds that touch of spiciness.
Karaage with Smoked Japanese Tartare ($17)
Add a crunchy mouthfeel as you bite into these deep-fried fried chicken pieces. Each nugget of karaage is coated in a crispy crust but inside the chicken meat is tender and still juicy.
This is one of those karaage in which I feel there is quite significant contrast between the skin and the meat.
Plus, each order comes with dip of smoked Japanese tartare – so not just the normal mayo.
This special tartare sauce complements the taste of the chicken with boiled eggs and iburi gakko, smoked pickled daikon/radish of the Akita prefecture in North Japan.
KUROBUTA Shabu-shabu Black Pork Salad ($16)
A salad like no other, this simple dish is visually composed of just three ingredients: pork, greens, and sesame seeds.
Behind its simplicity is a complex web of texture and flavour.
Featuring premium meat Kurobuta pork slow cooked over low temperature to give it that utmost butter tenderness. The micro greens add a refreshing crunchy and herb taste.
And as a finale, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds for a hint of nutty flavour.
Assorted Fresh Sashimi featuring Kuro Maguro ($40)
Fresh Kuro Maguro is an assortment of prime cuts of lean and fatty Japanese blue fin tuna served on a platter.
Depending on availability, fish could change source from Oma and Minmaya (Aomori) to Toi (Hokkaido) and Shiogama (Miyagi).
Flown from different locations in Japan, the fresh cuts of fish are served with special sauces and condiments to bring out their natural sweetness.
Chūtoro with Narazuke Pickles ($36)
Another recommended tuna and narazuke combo is the Chūtoro with Narazuke Pickles.
Feel the melt in your mouth softness of the medium fatty tuna usually found near the skin on the back and belly.
Rather than eating the sliced fish plain on its its own, you can wrap up these bite sized slivers of chūtoro with some shredded narazuke pickles (the pickles are pickled in a mixture of both sake and mirin), a sprinkling of chopped onions and in a nori (seaweed) sheet.
Homemade Chicken Dumpling “Tsukune” ($8)
Try some kushiyaki from the charcoal grill. This tsukune is a Japanese chicken meatball cooked yakitori style on a skewer.
Prepared homemade, the chicken dumpling remains juicy and complemented with a sweet soy yakitori tare when grilled with an optional egg yolk dip.
Other recommended skewers include the Koji-marinated “Gyutan” Beef Tongue ($14), and Miso-marinated Pork Shoulder ($6).
Home-made Honey Lemon Pudding ($8)
Cap off your Japanese meal with a home-made sweet-sour pudding served in a small cup, torched before serving for a layer of caramelization which make remind you of crème brûlée.
Flavoured with the sweetness of honey and the bright sparkling acidity of lemon, this delicate and velvety pudding is an ideal palate cleanser to a series of rich, satisfying dishes.
Sake Lees Ice Cream with Charcoal Grilled Pineapple ($12)
For something cool, try the Sake Lees Ice Cream with Charcoal Grilled Pineapple. Find a reason to celebrate with this frozen treat spiked with a dash of sake lees (The taste of sake lees or sake kasu is fruity and has a similar taste to Japanese sake.)
The tropical flavours of pineapple get a mild charred taste with the grilling, mellowed with a sprinkling of green tea tapioca.
Rockon Tokyo Omakase ($88)
If you can’t decide, leave things up to the chef with its omakase menu that will serve 8 delectable courses for $88.
It will include a starter, assorted obanzai, a warm dish, seasonal sashimi, charcoal-grilled seasonal fish, seasonal fried fish, tamago kake gohan and a homemade honey lemon pudding for dessert.
You may add on the Rock On! Treasure Box for $90, a Gout-O I.C.U (ikura, caviar and uni atop rice) for $60 or 5 glasses of sake pairing for $60 (60cc each).
Their range of sake is quite impressive, featuring premium and rare ones, including a fave of the Emperor of Japan.