Japanese Curry Rice has always been a hot favourite among Singaporeans – one can find it almost everywhere in Singapore – coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts and Japanese restaurants. In fact, it may have become so ubiquitous that the simple mention of “Japanese Curry Rice” will have you readily predicting its taste. What, then, makes a good Japanese Curry Rice?
We believe Executive Chef, Kumasaka Kazunari, of Udon GOEN has found the answer.
If you think you’ve tried it all, Udon GOEN offers a greater depth of flavor by pushing culinary boundaries without compromising affordability, with its new addition to its menu – the Japanese Curry Rice. According to the experienced itamae, “In Singapore, the industry is highly saturated. With that many choices, the people here can easily differentiate between good and mediocre Japanese Curry Rice. To win the hearts of the locals here, knowing the art of making Japanese Curry Rice isn’t enough. You have to understand the locals’ palate.”
To achieve a flavorful Japanese curry, the well-acclaimed Japanese chef adds tonkotsu stock (pork bones boiled for at least 10 hours) instead of water as a soup base. Tonkotsu lovers, this goes out to all of you.
A humble stall located within Wisma Atria’s Food Republic, Udon GOEN strives to bring delectable Japanese dishes to the masses at affordable prices.
A first glimpse of the Japanese Tonkatsu Original Curry Rice ($7.80) and the Japanese Chicken Katsu Original Curry Rice ($6.8) had my heart racing. I, for one, have a hearty appetite, and was indeed blown away by the generous portion. For that price, each dish was sufficient for two to share!
Chef Kazunari knew exactly what he was talking about when he wanted to distinguish his Japanese curry from the rest. I could taste it from the broth in the Japanese curry. Udon GOEN’s Japanese curry is rich and much tastier than the average Japanese Curry Rice. I would say it is comparable to that of some Japanese restaurants, which is unsurprising given that Chef Kazunari had honed his skills at a famous restaurant in Japan for many years. Though I will not go as far as to say it was fantastic, UDON GOEN’s Japanese Curry Rice is certainly value-for-money given its portion size and strong flavour.
Meat, glorious meat!
On the flavor of the meats alone, between the pork tonkatsu and chicken katsu, the latter stood out. I found the pork tonkatsu a tad too salty and dry for my liking. The chicken katsu, on the other hand, was succulent on the inside and delightfully crispy on the outside. The meat was juicy with its crispy skin complementing the dense tonkotsu curry . It was no surprise when I observed many diners purchasing the Chicken Katsu ($3.50) for takeaway. It will make a perfect nibble for a teatime snack.
On a side note, I appreciated how the meats were served separately from the curry. It allows you to savour both curry and the meat individually without the curry overpowering the taste and texture of the meat, and vice versa. Most of the time, one will find the meat drenched with curry, completely smothering its taste and crispiness. I could enjoy both of that at Udon GOEN – score!
While at Udon GOEN, one has to try their udon, right?
I had the Suan La Udon ($8.80), a variation of the Chinese Spicy and Sour Soup, served with a runny egg, and topped with a delicious slice of cha su.
It won my heart. I had not expected much from a spicy and sour soup except to clear my palate, but it pulled its own weight as a dish in itself. By now, I had discovered Chef Kazunari’s strengths in using the tonkotsu broth in all the right ways. The Suan La Udon was not as acerbic as the typical spicy and spicy soup – it was tasty and rich (I suspect there was tonkotsu broth in there too), and balanced with a light sourness which made the dish, in its entirety, a refreshing and filling meal. It was a paradox of sorts, but it had me.
The Tonkotso Special Ramen ($9.80) was decent as well, albeit not quite yet in the league of the ramen chains sprouting up in Singapore. It was pleasant on the whole, though you may not quite get the same heartiness as with their signature Japanese Curry Rice.
Humble and unpretentious, Udon GOEN aims to fill and fulfil. The selling point of Udon GOEN remains to be its ginormous portions, affordable price and its homey taste that is hard to find elsewhere.
435 Orchard Road
#04-02/38 Food Republic (Stall 11)
Opening hours: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm. (Dine-in or takeaways)