Sushi Mitsuya and chef Ryosuke Harada – exciting newcomers to Singapore’s sushi scene

Sushi Mitsuya Ryosuke Harada

As a sushi fetishist, I’ve been rather jaded by the recent flux of new sushiya – it’s all too easy nowadays to offer the ‘freshest’ toro and ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ uni, in an ‘authentic’ edomae setting. But the imminent opening of one Sushi Mitsuya, and the arrival of one of the most inspiring shokunin I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, has my fullest attention. Over the course of two lunches during the restaurant’s soft opening in February, I experienced a maturity and obstinate passion absent from other more glamorous sushi bars here. Quite simply, I fell in love. Continue Reading →

Boozing my way around Tohoku

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Drink-lovers (like me) have good reason to plan a Tohoku holiday. This scenic region northeast of Kanto (the region in which Tokyo sits) is home to some of the best sake breweries in Japan. While Niigata, which borders Tohoku, and which technically sits in Japan’s central Chubu region, may be the one prefecture most famous among foreigners for top-end sake, the producers in Tohoku’s prefectures churn out equally exceptional hooch. Continue Reading →

Tempura Matsu in Kyoto – fine dining without the pretence

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“Otsukaresama desu”, belted out our taxi driver as he pulled to a gentle stop in front of an old double-storey Japanese house. Save for the fluttering Tempura Matsu banner, you would be hard pressed to spot the family-owned restaurant in Kyoto’s Arashimaya area.

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Tohoku, Japan’s onsen (hot spring) paradise

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There are few things as relaxing and pleasurable than taking a bath–Japanese style–in natural hot spring water. For those of you who have yet to experience the joys of the onsen (the Japanese term for hot springs and baths using their waters), you have no idea what you are missing. I, myself, didn’t until a few years ago. For most of my life, I’ve been a shower person. I truly didn’t see the point of and never appreciated baths. But then, for a consultancy gig I had undertaken for a hotel collections company, I spent two and half weeks visiting some of Japan’s most beautiful and unique boutique hotels and inns, several of which boasted onsens among their main selling points.  Continue Reading →

Friday Food Porn: Ikura Rice in Miyagi, Japan

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A little something to make you hungry this Friday and also to whet your appetites for a series of stories I am working on currently. I just came back from a week touring Tohoku, which has some of the most amazing hot spring spas, sake breweries, and seafood in Japan. Continue Reading →

Spot – Dessert Omakase in New York City

Spot - Chocolate Green Tea Lava

I’d been looking around for a Japanese dessert place in New York City for a while, so when a friend recommended Spot, we made plans to go almost immediately. (I found out later that the owner of Spot is Thai but the amazing desserts have a distinctively Japanese edge to them). Spot is located in St Mark’s Place, one of NYC’s fave Japanese food and drink hangout spots. St Mark’s is filled with izakayas, yakitori places, ramen restaurants and karaoke bars and the vibe is more casual and laid-back due to its proximity to NYU and East Village. Continue Reading →

Higashiya: translating Japanese culture for contemporary palates

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Before I had even experienced modern wagashiya (Japanese confectionary shop), Higashiya for myself, I was already enamoured of the discreet yet clearly orchestrated style of the brand; by the time I had my first Higashiya encounter, I was well and truly hooked. Continue Reading →

Best Cookbooks of 2012

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I am a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks and food related non-fiction titles. And I have been trying to wean myself from this addiction. Unfortunately, in 2012 there were so many exciting new cookbooks introduced that I couldn’t resist. After reading about so many in my “go-to” food magazines, websites and blogs, I narrowed it down to the top six cookbooks of 2012. These were the most recommended, most blogged about, most inspiring cookbooks of 2012 – and I acquired them all. I simply couldn’t resist and I am glad I didn’t because now I am experimenting with all sorts of cuisines I love but had previously rarely made at home.

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Tsujiri brings its awesome Japanese sweets to Singapore

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In the Kyoto guide that I created back in 2009, I wrote about an über-popular dessert cafe called Tsujiri. Tsujiri, founded in 1860, is especially famous for its green tea desserts and cold drinks. The branch that I visited in Kyoto is so popular the waiting time is usually a minimum of 30-40 minutes. But now, thankfully, I neither need to fly to Japan nor queue up for a green tea parfait. Tsujiri has opened a branch in Singapore, located in the 100AM shopping centre on Tras Street.

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