Monday, September 1, 2014

Gyoza-ya Singapore : NEW Crab Gyoza and more

Gyoza, usually a side dish at Izakaya or ramen-ya, becomes the leading star at Gyoza-ya. Having opened at the old Heeren since last year, it has introduced new items to meet the ever-changing consumers' tastebuds. One of my favourites picks was the all-new Crab Gyoza $7.80, an interesting and flavourful twist to the traditional meat filling. Made with fresh crab instead of frozen crab meat, each dumpling is wrapped with the exact same amount of filling, churned and measured to perfection by the machine. 

The other new dish is the Tonkatsu Udon ($6.80). The creamy broth tasted like Ban Mian Soup--light but no less oily than a Tonkotsu ramen. The "udon" belongs to the flatter Kishimen Udon that is popular in Iwate prefecture. It resembles Ban Mian, but softer in texture.
Pan fried food tends to win over steamed or boiled ones because they have the extra fragrant burnt aroma. But hey, the Boiled Pork Gyozas($4.80) are not too bad either. Succulent and well-seasoned, the skin is just slightly thicker thus chewier than Xiao Long Bao. I thought the chefs were pretty clever to drizzle them in sweet miso sauce. 
Too much meat? There is always the Vegetable Pan Fried Gyozas($4.80), just as freshly made like their gyoza siblings. 
Kuri Lemonade ($3.80) Japanese cucumber with Lemonade.
If you like unfiltered sake, this is one of the places in Singapore that actually imports this premium brew from Japan.Gyoza-ya also prides itself as being the first to serve this Jya Jya Men($6.50) in Singapore. Not to be confused with the typical Chinese or Korean bean paste noodles, Jya Jya Men is an Iwate prefecture delicacy that ranks together with Wanko Soba and Rei Men (Cold Noodles) as Morioka's Top three Noodles.


What's the difference? The noodles and the way of eating. Either Kishimen aka flat udon (same as the Tonkatsu Udon) or the usual thick udon, are topped with Minced Meat Miso & Cucumber and eaten with chilli oil and vinegar. 
After emptying the noodles, the staff will add a soft-boiled egg, more miso minced meat and some boiling water that was used to cooked the udon. Stir everything and you'll get this greyish broth. Doesn't taste as rich as it looks but neither is it as slurpy as ramen broth. 
I loved the Yaki Azuki Gyoza out of all and felt that it needn't be eaten as desserts towards the end of the meal. Sweet red bean mash encased in thin, crisp shell that reminded me of my all-time love, the Croissant Taiyaki. Never mind if there isn't any butter since they're probably healthier. 
Matcha, Sesame and Yuzu Ice Cream ($6 each) imported from Hokkaido are also wonderful sweet endings, though the red beans were undercooked. The biggest draw factor is the price. With the gyozas at an average $4.80 for 5 pieces and other food not exceeding $7, it's possibly one of the best deals for Japanese food in Orchard. 
 
Gyoza-ya
Daily 11.30am-10pm
B1-02A Robinsons Orchard
260 Orchard Road
Nearest MRT: Somerset
 
Special thanks to Casey and Akashi Group for the invite!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Totoro Cafe : Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory

白髭のシュークリーム工房 is the only official Ghibli cafe that retails Totoro Choux cream puffs. The location used to be a hassle for me but now it only takes 12 minutes by Odakyu Line from Shinjuku to reach Setagaya Daita.
It's very hidden in the residential area but not difficult to access from the station if you follow the map closely. There is an average of four flavours everyday and I am glad they tasted a lot better than most character food like Pokémon.
 Original vanilla bean custard
Matcha with Black Beans (A seasonal flavour from April-October) A must try because the matcha taste is excellent
Peach Cream with fresh cut peaches

Eat-in is available on 2nd floor but it is compulsory to order a drink. Alternatively, it can be ordered as a set with the lunch or dinner meals. Take-away on 1st floor.

Totoro Café 白髭のシュークリーム工房
Tokyo, Setagaya Ku, Daita 5-3-1
10.30am-7pm daily except Tues
Access: Take Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station to Setagaya daita Station
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