11 authentic Japanese restaurants in Singapore for the Japanese foodie
While we might envy the romance between Nick Young and Rachel Chu from Crazy Rich Asians, nothing quite compares to Singaporeans’ love for authentic Japanese food. Unless you’re the crazy rich protagonist, however, it’s almost impossible to jet off to Japan as and when you feel like it, for a fresh sushi fix.
Satisfy your craving for authentic Japanese cuisine with our list of recommended Japanese restaurants in Singapore. From ramen to tonkatsu, we're sharing our recommendations for a true Japanese dining experience!
Did you know… When eating kushikatsu, or deep-fried skewered meat and vegetables, you're only allowed to dip your skewers once into the accompanying sauce for hygiene reasons. You may of course help yourself to more sauce by scooping it up with the cabbage served alongside the kushikatsu.
Enjoy the authentic taste of good ol’ Osaka with Kushikatsu Tanaka at Clarke Quay, the No. 1 Kushikatsu chain in Japan. Apart from the wide selection of meats, seafood and vegetables, desserts here are also breaded in panko and deep-fried upon order to golden-brown perfection.
Have fun customising your food with the DIY Takoyaki and Onigiri, and savour your unique handmade creations tailored to your palate! Don’t forget to choose from the restaurant’s fantastic selection of Jim Beam Highballs (a delicious mix of Japanese whiskey and soda) for the perfect accompaniment to your meal.
(Side dishes that pair perfectly with alcohol)
Did you know… Izakaya literally means ‘stay-in sake shop’. Starting out in the Edo period as liquor shops where people could buy sake and enjoy it in-store, izakayas have evolved into casual places for people to hang out after work over otsumami and drinks. Otsumami also slows down the absorption rate of alcohol in your blood so you don’t get drunk too fast.
Wind down with your colleagues after a long day at work at En Sakaba at Clarke Quay, which serves up Japanese-inspired tapas alongside alcoholic drinks. This smaller branch of the En Sakaba chainhas anextensive menu that's not limited to bar eats of edamame and tori karaage. Dishes such as donburis and sukiyaki are also available if you’re planning to have a full meal. Pick from the comprehensive alcohol menu that includes high quality sake and affordable beers - and let the happy hour begin!
Did you know… Slurping your ramen loudly is actually a polite way of showing appreciation for the noodles. Not only that, slurping apparently helps to cool down your noodles and makes them more flavourful!
Calling all ramen lovers! Visit the popular Tokyo ramen chain Menya Musashi Kafu at Raffles City Singaporefor a taste of their highly coveted ramen that has garnered fans in Japan and abroad.Choose from White, Black and Red soup bases, as well as different noodle textures and toppings for a truly satisfying ramen experience. Don’t forget the slurping!
Slurp up the rich broth made of French rock lobsters simmered for hours together with a special blend of herbs and vegetables.
This French lobster bisque-inspired creation will definitely leave a lingering umami on your taste buds!
Did you know… Katsu is usually eaten by the Japanese before an important exam or match as the word “katsu” also means “to win”. The next time you have an important event coming up, why not have some tonkatsu for good luck?
Sink your teeth into crispy golden-brown pork loin cutlets from Imakatsu at The Star Vistaand be amazed at how juicy and tender the meat is. Originating from Roppongi, Tokyo, the Michelin Guide-featured tonkatsu speciality restaurant prepares its signature dish by breading high quality meat with panko before deep frying it at varying oil temperatures to achieve the perfect tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu Bistro by Ma Maison at Westgatealso serves excellent tonkatsu dishes in an intimate setting. Select from an assortment of mouth-watering katsu such as pork loin, pork fillet, prawns and fish for some deep-fried goodness, and trust us when we say it’s worth every calorie.
Each katsu set comes with rice, shredded cabbage and miso soup that are all refillable so you get a complete Japanese meal that gives you great value for money!
Did you know… In the past, nabe was only prepared with fish and vegetables because Japan came under the Buddhist rule, which prohibited the consumption of beef. However, beef and other ingredients were introduced during the Edo period as a result of Western influences.
If a wholesome meal is what you desire, Tsukada Nojo at Plaza Singapurawill check all the right boxes! Dig into the Japanese restaurant’s specialty, the Bijin Nabe or Collagen Soup Beauty Pot, and fall in love with the rich, flavourful broth consisting of the nutritious Golden Collagen Chicken Stock that is simmered for over eight hours. Served with chicken, prawns and assorted vegetables, this healthy hot pot is not only fulfilling, it's great for your skin too!
Did you know… It is believed that yakiniku was created under the influence of Korean cuisine that arrived on the shores of Japan during the Showa period.
Korean dishes such as bulgogi and galbi served as inspiration for the Japanese yakiniku and the current style of yakiniku restaurants is derived from Korean grilling restaurants as well.
Be spoilt for choice with the wide selection of quality meats, ranging from premium wagyu beef to chicken, pork and even seafood, and grill them to your heart’s content.
Don’t forget to load up on the free-flow of rice, noodles and appetisers that will leave you happily stuffed.
Did you know… Yōshoku, or Japanese-style Western cuisine, is believed to have originated from Japan’s Meiji Restoration, when Japan opened its doors to Western culture and food. The Japanese, who were much smaller than their Western counterparts, believed that consuming Western food would help them grow in size. Hence, localised versions of Western cuisine were developed, which we now recognise as the yōshoku of today.
When you’re torn between Japanese and Western, why not get the best of both worlds with Yomenya Goemon at The Star Vista, whichoffers Western dishes with a Japanese twist?
This Japanese restaurant serves spaghetti dishes such as the Japanese Mentaiko Spaghetti or the Wasabi Salmon Spaghetti that have incorporated both Italian and Japanese ingredients for an interesting combination of flavours you’ll be sure to love.
The Hokkaido Soup Pasta (pictured) is also a rich medley of flavours that you will love for its unique, wholesome taste.
Enjoy your spaghetti with chopsticks for a truly fusion dining experience!
Did you know... In Japan, Japanese confectionery is categorised as either Wagashi (Japanese-style confectionery), or Yogashi (Western-style confectionery). When Japan opened itself to the world in the 19th century after a period of isolation, Western cultural elements along with Western ingredients such as milk and butter came in, contributing to the creation of many Western-style, Japanese desserts that we enjoy today.
There’s always room for dessert! Hoshino Coffee at Plaza Singapura is the perfect choice for Western-inspired Japanese treats when you’re craving for something sweet!
Indulge in an array of delectable desserts such as French toast topped with juicy chunks of fruits and cream, or thick soufflé-style pancakes accompanied with butter, sweet syrup and other toppings of your choice.
Alternatively, Eggs ‘n Things at Plaza Singapurais an ideal option for those with a sweet tooth!Known to attract long queues at its Harajuku branch in Tokyo, the Waikiki eatery popular among both locals and tourists is best known for its fluffy pancakes that come with a tower of lightly whipped cream and fresh fruit toppings.
Drizzle on the coconut, guava or maple syrup provided for the pièce de résistance before getting that Instagram-worthy shot!
To fully immerse yourself in your Japanese meal, how about doing as the Japanese do, and practice their table manners? First, bring your palms together and say itadakimasu (いただきます) before eating to show gratitude for the people involved in the food preparation. Then, when you’re done with your meal, put your hands together again and end off by saying gochisousama (ごちそうさま), which means “Thank you for the meal.” Such seemingly simple gestures hold deeply profound meanings that are worth observing in the Japanese culture.