Last Updated: July 3, 2019
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 11 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.
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$16.80.
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$16.90, 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$8.80).
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.
Misato: 176 Orchard Road, The Centrepoint, #01-33E, Singapore 238843 | Tel: +65 6235 2822 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Tue – Sun) | Facebook
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 – Sat), Closed on Sun | Website
Here’s a bowl fresh Bara Chirashi (S$17.60)! But if raw fish isn’t your thing, Teppei Japanese Restaurant has a tempura set lunch that ranges from S$16.50 to S$19.80.
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 omakases 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 (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 2.30pm (Sat), 6.30pm – 10.30pm (Mon – Sat) | Facebook
Isn’t this Yakitori Bento simply a steal at a mere S$15? There’s yakitori, quail eggs, mushroom and rice. Of course, there’s also the quality taste of these old school charcoal-grilled skewers that makes it worth the price.
Other than this, Nanbantei has other options for their lunch menu, like the saba shioyaki set that goes at S$14. 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 it 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!
Tamoya Udon: 177 River Valley Road, #01-32, Liang Court, Singapore 179030 | Tel: +65 6337 0301 | Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Daily) | Facebook
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 aburi salmon roll that costs a mere S$14.90. 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.
Honestly, who could get enough of these bowls of sashimi happiness right?
Tanuki Raw serves up a good bowl of Bara Chirashi (S$20) at a steal. The sesame seeds give an extra crunch to the texture and you can either have it cut up (bara) or just a normal chirashi, both at the same price.
If you are not a big fan of raw fish, there are other rice bowls such as the truffle yakiniku don and kick ass maki rolls that are unique to Tanuki Raw. Here’s a piece of good news: you can grab all these at only S$14.90 during lunch hours.
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 when it’s not stated in English.
I tried the Minced Chicken & Natto Rice with Miso Soup (S$9) and Steamed Salmon & Mushroom (S$15). And take my word for it: I have 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.
Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya is well-known for its many special promotions, which give you outstanding dishes at a fraction of the price. For example, its Snow Crab Garlic Rice Set (S$26.80) is served with chawanmushi, miso soup and fruit.
Other than its promotions, Sumiya also has regular lunch items priced affordably from S$13.80.
Plus, its rice and miso soup are all free-flow, so you’ll certainly be able to eat your fill!
Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya: 3 Temasek Boulevard (North Wing), Suntec City, #03-332, Singapore 038983 | Tel: +65 6235 1816 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 5.30pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 11.30pm – 10pm (Sat & Sun) | Website
Cafe&Meal Muji is a newly-opened cafe in Paragon, and 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 like their chai milk tea too, as it isn’t overly sweet like the chai lattes I’d get at certain coffee joints. Easy on the pocket and the waistline I’d say.
Omakase (S$120 – S$150, vary according to ingredients used).
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 an 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?
Hana Restaurant: 583 Orchard Road, #01-17, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884 | Tel: +65 6737 5525 | Facebook