PUBLISHED November 16th, 2020 05:00 am | UPDATED November 26th, 2020 04:56 pm
We love our shabu shabu and sushi, but sometimes a quick and hearty Japanese fix is all you need. Few dishes come more convenient or carb-loaded than the versatile donburi – the options are practically endless whether you decide to go for beef or seafood. To keep your tummy happy without draining your bank account, here’s our shortlist of Japanese restaurants in Singapore with the most scrumptious yet affordable donburis.
Chalong offers a lean but mean lineup of three donburi options, each generously packed with josper-grilled meats smoked with apple wood. The Thai-inspired 18hr Sous-Vide Pork Jowl (S$12) has a perfect balance of meat, fat, and crispy skin, all atop pearly Haenuki Japanese rice with a Mi Cuit Egg. But the crème de la crème has to be the shockingly tender medium-rare sous-vide Roast Beef Bowl (S$14), drizzled in umami truffle sauce.
Chalong has two locations at Guoco Tower, 7 Wallich Street, #B2-21, Singapore 078884 and One Raffles Place, #B1-18, Singapore 048616. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm-8pm at Guoco Tower. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-2pm at One Raffles Place.
Be prepared to make return trips back to Kogane Yama – that’s the only way you can eat through their extensive menu of donburis, especially their series of premium tempura dons. Crunch on their Tendon – Mixed Bowl (S$15.50) heaped with chicken, prawns, and an assortment of vegetables coated in tempura batter, and enjoy a side of silky chawanmushi and miso soup if you upgrade to a set meal for S$3.20. Looking to treat yo’ self? Indulge in a pocket-friendly Garlic Wagyu Don (S$17.80) or value-for-money Grilled Unagi Don (S$19.90).
Kogane Yama is located at Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria Street, #02-50, Singapore 188021. Open Mon-Thurs, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9.30pm.
Kuro Maguro Sushi & Dining
Maguro lovers, we’ve found your idea of heaven. Using only the freshest bluefin tuna directly imported from Japan, each donburi at Kuro Maguro comes brimming with generous helpings of ocean treasures. Enjoy the melt-in-the-mouth textures of salmon and maguro sashimi in the Nishoku Meshi (S$19.80++) or the Barachirashi’s (S$19.80++) gorgeous assortment of sashimi cubes. They’ve also got a series of mini donburis if you prefer to sample a variety of sashimi and different cuts of maguro. For a Mini O-toro Aburi Meshi (S$18.80++), it’s a steal.
Kuro Maguro Sushi & Dining is located at Guoco Tower, 7 Wallich Street, #01-04, Singapore 078884. Open Mon-Tues & Thurs-Sat 11.30am-2pm & 5.30pm-8pm, Wed 11.30am-2pm & 5.30pm-10pm, Sun 11.30am-2pm & 5pm-7pm.
Kushiya Japanese Grill House
We envy the Westies for their easy access to bowls of charcoal-grilled goodness. While we do have an eye on their delicious skewers, specifically their Bacon Enoki Rolls (S$2.20) and Chicken Leg with Scallions (S$2.60), the signature Pork Belly Don (S$8.90) is not only kind to our wallets but a delight for the tastebuds. Succulent and smoky, the glistening pork belly is accompanied by half a hanjuku egg and a dollop of kimchi. They also cook up a satisfying budget-friendly Beef Steak Don (S$10.90).
Kushiya Japanese Grill House is located at Westgate Singapore, 3 Gateway Drive, #B2-K4, Singapore 608532. Open daily 11am-10pm.
A good donburi needs tasty rice, and Niigata Bento certainly does it right with prized Japanese short-grain koshihikari rice. Coming from the rice capital of Japan itself, these premium grains have a sweet and nutty bite. Priding themselves on an ever-evolving menu, their latest creations include the Mentaiko Salmon Don and Ginger Pork Loin Don, available for a limited time offer. Missed out on them? Don’t worry, their Bara Chirashi and Tori Karaage Don are worth the stomach space too. Add a couple dollars more for a set that includes a heartwarming miso soup and sweet mochi dessert.
Niigata Bento has four outlets across Singapore. For more information on location and opening times, visit their website.
Sandaime Bunji provides an authentic Japanese experience in Millenia Walk, complete with traditional tatami seating. Get ready to feast your eyes on the droolworthy Wagyu Mountain Roast Beef Set (S$19.90 for lunch), piled high with tender strips of Australian Wagyu with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sweet sauce. Due to its popularity, their sets tend to run out fast so be sure to head down early for a taste of one of the most affordable roast beef bowls in Singapore.
Sandaime Bunji is located at Millenia Walk, #01-14/15, Singapore 039596. Open Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm & 5pm-11pm, Sun 11.30am-2.30pm & 5pm-9pm.
Putting a novelty spin on Japanese classics is what makes fast-casual dining concept Sora Boru wildly popular among those looking for a fun change. Top best-sellers include the Snow Beef Don with Mixed Veg (S$14.20) decadently topped with Parmesan and cream sauce, and Spicy Volcano Beef Don (S$14.20) to set your tastebuds ablaze with a good helping of marinated beef slices. For the seafood lovers, we recommend the Bara Chirashi Ebimayo Aburi Don (S$16.30).
Sora Boru has two locations at [email protected], 313 Orchard Road, #B3-19/20, Singapore 238895 and Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive, #01-08, Singapore 608532. Open Mon-Thurs & Sun 11am-9.30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm.
Enjoy the best of modern Japanese-inspired cuisine with a touch of American street food at Tanuki Raw. Using premium ingredients, their menu is brimming with flavours galore right down to their signature mixed rice with chopped pickles, furikake, and seasoned vinegar. Chow down on all things salmon with their Salmon Kaisen (S$14.90 for lunch, S$16.90 for dinner), packed with cubes of spicy salmon and mentaiko seared salmon sashimi. For those who can’t get enough of beef, you can’t go wrong with the Truffle Yakiniku (S$14.90 for lunch, S$18 for dinner).
Tanuki Raw has three locations across Singapore. For more information on location and opening times, visit their website.
Diners make a beeline to Teppei Syukodo for their Signature Kaisendon (S$16) and its riot of colours and flavours. Generous cubes of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, scallop, and ikura are piled atop fluffy white Japanese rice before being drizzled in their secret home-made sauce. If you’re a picky eater or have a penchant for creating an exclusive mishmash of your favourites, hop on over to their ION Orchard outlet for their DIY Kaisen Don. We’re also a fan of their piping hot donburis such as the hearty Katsudon (S$15.80).
Tendon Ginza Itsuki
This Ramen Keisuke concept is in collaboration with the highly acclaimed Ginza Itsuki Sushi in Tokyo, so you can certainly expect the food to be top-notch. The Special Mix Tendon (S$14.90) sees large helpings of prawn, chicken, vegetables plus an oozy tempura egg, while the Vegetable Tendon (S$13.90) is a mixed affair. Shell out a little more for their scrumptious Seafood Tendon (S$17.90) that comes with a variety of fresh ocean catch, from chewy squid to tender pieces of whitefish.
Tendon Ginza Itsuki is located at 101 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088522. Open daily 11.30am-10.30pm.
Tempura Tendon Tenya
Popularly known as Tenya, this tendon chain empire boasts 198 stores across Japan alone. Its first Singapore branch at Orchard Central brings us its signature bowls of tempura sizzled to crisp, light perfection with their patented Automatic Fryer, then drizzled with tare sauce. Splash out on the Seafood Tendon (S$12.90) loaded with tempura prawns, anago, and scallops; dig into the chicken kaarage-packed Tori Tendon (S$9.90) complete with tempura egg; or go light with the Mushroom Vegetables Tendon (S$7.90).
Tenya is located at 181 Orchard Rd, #B1-01 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896, p. +65 6509 6838. Open daily 11am-10pm.
Una Una Singapore
Unagi fans rejoice – we’ve found delicious charcoal-grilled unagi Hitsumabushi that won’t burn a hole in your wallets. The Hitsumabushi Regular (S$19.16) is served with a gorgeous Nagoya-style grilled eel on Hokkaido rice, slathered in their in-house sweet and savoury tare. The tender meat gives off a wonderfully smoky aroma; complete your feast with silky chawanmushi, soup and an appetiser. Enhance your dining experience by adding dashi into your dish for a whole new world of flavours.
Una Una Singapore is located at Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street, #04-10, Singapore 188067. Open daily from 11.30am-8pm.
Yuzu zealots should definitely give Yuzutei a go – this Japanese joint boasts dishes accentuated with a taste of this citrus fruit, air-flown fresh from Tokushima Prefecture. From their line of donburis infused with the flavours of yuzu, the Chirashi Kaisen Don (S$14.90) is heaped with salmon, tuna, and swordfish belly before being marinated in a special yuzu dressing. Another must-try is the refreshingly tender Garlic Vinaigrette Gyu Don (S$16).
Yuzutei is located at Interlocal Centre, 100G Pasir Panjang Road, #01-01, Singapore 118523. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 4pm-10pm, Sat 12.30pm-10pm.
Top Image: Kogane Yama