Last Updated: October 12, 2020
We tend to associate quality Japanese food with excessive spending but that’s not always the case. Being a total overly-passionate individual for Japanese food, I decided that I needed to source for quality and affordable Japanese joints in Singapore to sustain my insatiable appetite.
For all my like-minded souls, here’s a list of 15 affordable places for Japanese food in Singapore where you can get your fix without burning a hole in your pocket. Ideally, you would be spending less than S$30 a person at these places, although some might be more expensive at night.
Rebranded from the previous 12-seater sushi bar, Omoté houses an expanded shop space at level three of Thomson Plaza. Known for their diverse range of chirashi-don, the Umami Soy Chirashi (S$17.80) was one that instantly won over my heart.
This satiating bowl consists of a bed of fluffy white Japanese pearl rice topped with an ocean-fresh mix of diced sashimi, each individually encased in savoury soy sauce. It is then topped with ground sesame seeds that gave the dish its unique fragrance and an extra layer of nuttiness.
Add the Spicy River Squid (S$13) to your meal for that kick of spice you won’t expect from a Japanese restaurant. The amount of char was perfect in every bite. Drenched in Thai-inspired pestled lemongrass and chilli infusion, this dish was a tripartite of texture and flavours that I simply couldn’t get enough of.
In the heart of Tanjong Pagar lies a cosy Japanese restaurant, Bimi Kaiho Restaurant. For a simple Japanese meal that will warm your heart, try their Udon Dinner Set (S$17).
Choose from a variety of sides—tempura (shrimp), tonkatsu (pork), yakiniku (beef), tori karaage (fried chicken), or korokke (croquette)—to go with your bowl of warm udon. The udon noodles had a springy texture, while the soup had a hint of saltiness. Every mouthful was silky smooth and is nothing short of comforting.
There is also the Dinner Set (S$23) that comes with rice, miso soup, fruits and chanwanmushi. Apart from the customary dishes, you can also select two sides to complete your meal!
Let’s not limit our options to bento boxes and udon bowls. Here at Kushikatsu Tanaka, feast on authentic Japanese izakaya delights at wallet-friendly prices.
Feel free to pick your favourite kushikatsu a la carte style or try their New 5 Kind Kushikatsu (S$10), which consists of Mochi Bacon, Buta Shiso, Tomato Bacon, Unagi Cheese and Shiitake Nikutsume.
Cooked in Tanaka’s secret batter and a mixture of corn oil with a beef fat blend, the batter on the skewers are light and clean—crispy without being greasy at all. Savour these crunchy golden bites along with Kushikatsu Tanaka’s signature brown dipping sauce that is tangy and undeniably addictive.
Kushikatsu aside, the eatery also offers up to 50 other dishes such as yakiniku (grilled meat), nabe (hot pot) and DIY takoyaki (octopus balls). Take your pick and don’t forget to have them together with Kushikatsu Tanaka’s signature highballs and craft beers.
Kushikatsu Tanaka: 13A River Valley Road, Block A Merchant Court, #01-01B, Singapore 179020 | Tel: +65 6258 3789 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 2pm & 5pm – 10pm (Mon to Fri), 12pm – 10pm (Sat & Sun) | Facebook | Instagram | Website
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant needs no further introduction. For the freshest and juiciest unagi, this is definitely one of the places to be. Watch experience Japanese chef work their magic as they gut squirming live eels and grill them over white coals before your eyes.
Unatama (S$18.60) is the most affordable bowl of unagi rice served at Man Man. The dish features a bed of rice together with two thick slabs of tamagoyaki, topped with beautifully grilled unagi.
Char-grilled to perfection enhanced by the tare marinade, each slice of unagi has two contrasting textures—a smooth tender white flesh and the crispy grilled skin. Each piece is like an umami bomb in your mouth, exploding with heavy notes of saltiness and sweetness.
Comfortably nestled in the neighbourhood of King Albert Park, Gaijin Japanese Soul Food aims to provide their diners with the best tasting Japanese ‘soul’ comfort food in town.
Craving a warm and comforting bowl of ramen? Try their Shio Tonkotsu (S$12). This dish features slurp-worthy ramen soaked in a rich, flavourful pork broth alongside tender pork slices and an ajitsuke tamago.
Besides that, their Tori Katsu Curry Don (S$12) also makes for a satisfying meal. Here, the curry is a mix between two types of Japanese curry—the sweet apple style, and the slightly spicier style. Butter is also added to increase its smoothness that is bound to delight all you curry lovers!
Affordable and casual, Gaijin Japanese Soul Food is a place that will surely bring joy to your soul, one dish at a time.
Gaijin Japanese Soul Food : 9 King Albert Park, KAP Residences Mall, #01-40, Singapore 598332 | Tel: +65 6904 040 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 9.30pm (Mon to Fri), 12pm – 9pm (Sat & Sun) | Facebook | Instagram
Nestled on the first floor of The Centrepoint is Misato, a quaint and classy Japanese restaurant. It serves up delicious Japanese cuisine using traditional and authentic ingredients imported directly from Japan.
The a la carte main courses are affordably priced, ranging from S$12.90 to S$20.80.
I absolutely loved Misato’s Okonomiyaki (S$15.90), because of how generous the restaurant was with its layers of cabbage, egg and pork belly. The okonomiyaki sauce was plum-like and tangy, and the exterior was crunchy and crisp thanks to its time on the hotplate.
For tempura tiger prawns that were this huge and fresh, I was surprised to find out that Misato’s Misato Ebi Donburi only cost S$17.90, which is a steal. Its breadcrumb crust was buttery and crisp, while the prawn itself was firm and sweet.
This was by far, one of the best mochi I’ve ever had: Misato’s Sanshoku Warabi Mochi (S$9.80).
It’s freshly made every day and takes two hours to make. The warabi mochi was authentically jelly-like in texture, smooth, and melted easily in my mouth.
Mmhm, a nice and fresh bowl of Sashimi Rice Bowl (S$18), yet again at such a steal.
Nestled in China Square Central, Koji serves up a trusty meal that comes with a side of salad and miso soup. Other than sashimi rice bowls, it does serve relatively affordable sushi sets that range from S$9 to S$23.
If you’re heading there for lunch, be careful of the crowd as it is very popular amongst the CBD dwellers. Other than that, knock yourself out.
Koji Sushi Bar: 3 Pickering Street, China Square Central, #01-42, Singapore 048660 | Tel: +65 6225 6125 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook | Instagram | Website
Here’s a bowl of fresh Kaisendoni (S$16)! However, if raw fish isn’t your thing, Teppei Japanese Restaurant has a tempura set lunch that ranges from S$5 to S$22.80.
Teppei needs no introduction. We all know how fully booked they can get, we all know how much in advance we need to try and get a seat. We also know how affordable it is considering its quality.
Hana Hana is also owned by the same group as Teppei and is situated literally beside Teppei sharing the same space (at #01-17), and offers the same great value of Japanese food. Teppei, of course, is known for their dinner omakase but Hana Hana is a great substitute during lunch.
Walk-ins are available for lunch but dinner reservations have to be made months in advance for Teppei. Yes, months, because they are that good.
Teppei Japanese Restaurant: 1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, #01-18, Singapore 078867 | Tel: +65 6222 7363 | Opening Hours: 11.45am – 2.30pm & 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 12pm – 2.30pm & 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook
Isn’t this Yakitori Bento simply a steal at a mere S$18? There’s yakitori, vegetable sticks, mushroom and rice. Of course, there’s also the quality taste of these old school charcoal-grilled skewers that make it worth the price.
Other than this, Nanbantei has other options for their lunch menu, like the Saba Shioyaki Set. Do take note that dinner menu is way more expensive so have a look at their website before heading there.
All hail Tamoya Udon‘s udon noodles from Tokyo, which you can either enjoy in a rich golden broth (kake udon) or the thick soya sauce broth, which is the sanuki udon.
Honestly, the Sanuki Udon (Reg S$5.80, Large S$7.80) is under S$10 and it’s as chewy as udon should be. Let’s not forget how aromatic and sweet the broth is.
The restaurant also launched an outlet-exclusive, Truffle Tonkotsu Udon (S$11.80). The pork bone broth was rich and creamy, with a hint of earthiness from the truffle oil. For those who prefer a stronger truffle taste, mix in all the truffle paste that is served on the side to enjoy its maximum aroma and flavour!
Oh hello there, we meet again Bara Chirashi Don (S$19.90). At The Sushi Bar, be prepared for an indulgent bowl of fresh sashimi topped with ikura. The decent portion that will satisfy your hunger and it’s one of the more affordable options.
They are also very known for their Salmon Aburi Roll that costs a mere S$16.90. The perfect seared taste lingers while the slightly tangy rice slowly complements and washes away the taste, prepping you for the next pop of maki. It is usually pretty packed so do go down early if possible.
Besides Bara Chirashi (S$20), Tanuki Raw also serves up a good bowl of Foie Gras Yakiniku (S$23, with a S$7 optional top-up for fresh truffle)—donburi topped with a generous serving of US Black Angus short rib.
If you’re a fan of loaded sushi rolls, Instagram This Maki (S$13.90) is a dish that is sure to delight.
Made up of fried yakiniku steak, avocado, tamago & bacon maki, topped with melted cheese, smoked ketchup, umami mayo and a liberal sprinkling of onions, this deep-fried creation is a satisfying meal by itself.
Mikoto Singapore is a modest Japanese joint opened by a Japanese man and gives a very authentic Japanese atmosphere. Their menu is hand-written and changes seasonally. It’s written in Japanese though and so you might need a little help from the staff where it’s not stated in English.
I tried the Minced Chicken & Natto Rice With Miso Soup (S$9) and Steamed Salmon & Mushroom (S$16). And take our word for it: I’ve never tasted a salmon so sweet when steamed.
Soft and tender, it’s the melt-in-mouth kind of goodness. The minced chicken meat was really good too but salmon took the limelight, for sure.
Cafe & Meal Muji serves various hot and cold delis that are quintessentially Muji and Japanese. No frills, just a simple and nutritious meal that will leave you feeling healthier.
The Two Deli Set (S$12.80) consists of one hot deli and one cold deli, and gives you the choice between rice options like 16-grain rice, white rice or bread, miso soup and an onsen egg, among other choices.
Opt for the 16-grain rice instead of the white rice—nutty and filled with barley, it is healthier and also more flavourful than the white rice.
I really enjoy their chai milk tea too, as it isn’t overly sweet like the chai lattes we get at certain coffee joints. Easy on the pocket and the waistline I’d say.
Nestled inside Forum The Shopping Mall, Hana Restaurant serves up quality Japanese cuisine while not burning a hole in your wallet. Though this omakase set is above S$100, it is well worth the price. They serve S$30 omakase for dinner on Monday and Wednesday, and a S$50 premium omakase dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If these aren’t your type of thing, head down for their S$12.90++ lunch deals where you get to choose from bara chirashi, sake bara don and many more. What are you waiting for?