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 17 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
1. Morinaga Izakaya
A hidden outlet serving quality Japanese food at affordable prices? Yes, please! Morinaga Izakaya, located in the heart of town, strives to establish just that.
Featured below is their Salmon Nigiri Aburi Mentai Mayo 6pcs Set (S$21). While many other Japanese eateries also have this dish, Morinaga Izakaya’s rendition is especially delightful.
With a large slab of thick-sliced salmon over a smaller serving of sushi rice, diners can fully appreciate the luscious salmon texture and taste.
I’d pair these sushi with heartier mains such as the Truffle-Flavoured Somen Noodle with Ikura (S$14) and meat dishes including the Japanese Roast Beef (S$14). Oh, did I mention Wagyu Sashimi (S$26) and Grilled Miso Pork (S$9)? It surely is a meat-lover’s dream!
For those looking to fully experience their sashimi offerings, the team serves Assorted Omakase Sashimi Plate (3 pieces each) or Single Pax (2 pieces each) — both priced at S$38. Now, that’s a steal!
There’s no better place that screams hidden gem than secret hawker stalls! YukiDon sees a surge of business growth and has 2 locations — Bishan (opened on 16 Sep 2023) and their flagship outlet in Woodlands. Although their prices are fairly steep for hawker food, their quality certainly makes up for it.
While their Salmon Mentaiyaki Don (S$13.90) is touted as the most popular and most worth item on the menu, I was drawn to the Ebi Fry Don (S$8.90). Whether your preference lies in a chunky salmon slab or large snappy prawns, both seafood are dressed in a blanket of torched mentaiko sauce. *Screams!*
Meat lovers, do not fret. The most expensive beef dish goes to the Truffle Yakiniku Steak (S$14.90) which is presented in a beautiful arrangement.. The Japanese rice is dressed with a sweet yet savoury marinade used to season the beef slices.
As a whole, these rice bowls definitely scream ‘worth-it’ for their hefty portions and quality ingredients.
3. Ajiya Okonomiyaki
Who knew Japanese savoury pancakes and teppanyaki could be this affordable? Ajiya Okonomiyaki is one of the best restaurants that specialises in this Japanese delicacy.
I highly recommend diving right into the experience by requesting for counter seats — yup, right in front of the hot grills. Although, there are table seats available to accommodate larger groups.
A variety of flavours are available but our favourite has got to be the Seafood and Meat Combo (S$14).
Now, I am no Japanese food expert. However, I am certain that the combination of cabbage, sakura ebi, tempura crisps, scallions and egg yolk tossed in flames right in-front of your eyes will undoubtedly taste delicious.
Not to forget, the addition of sweet and salty brown glaze and mayonnaise dressed onto the cabbage pancakes before it is served. Simply divine!
Pair your savoury pancakes with hot-of-the-grill side dishes including Potato Cheese Mentai (S$10) and Garlic Fried Rice with Prawns (S$5). That’s lunch settled!
4. Ichi Umai
Situated in the lesser-known Junction 9 building in Yishun, Ichi Umai serves delectable Japanese food at relatively cheap prices. To be specific, main dishes begin from S$5.90 here. Legit.
The Bara Chirashi Don (S$15.90) is adorned with symmetrical cubes of fresh sashimi, delicately scattered and piled high on a rice bed. A different range of fish is used here in comparison to other Japanese eateries — salmon, scallops, swordfish, amaebi (my favourite!) and ikura.
Although they may be a hole-in-the-wall eatery, do not expect less. Their assortment of fresh and thickly-sliced raw fish proves just that. Order the Ajisai Sashimi Moriwase (S$18.90) to taste it for yourself. I mean, where else can you get this sashimi platter for less than S$20?
Do not shy away just yet. Adventurous eaters should try their Ryu Chizu Roll (S$12.90). No other combination sounds crazier than tiger prawns, rice, seaweed and nacho cheese. Oh, and to sweeten the deal, they don’t charge extra for service fee and GST. Win!
Fast food chains are inevitably one of the more affordable options in the food scene in Singapore. That said, quality does not need to be compromised as proven by famous unagi chain, Unatoto.
Unadon (S$9.50) is the simplest and cheapest rice bowl on the menu. While some may find the dish substantial, I would choose to add another slab of tender and smoky eel and get the Double Unadon (S$14.50).
The unagi meat was charred till slightly crispy on the outside, but super fluffy on the inside. This texture alone made it addictive but together with the sweet yet savoury unagi sauce, my tastebuds rejoiced even more.
Top up S$4 for a Set A that comes with personal choices of Red Miso Soup and Green Salad. I especially loved the robust bean flavour of the Red Miso — a must get when dining at Unatoto. Other side dishes are available for diners to take their pick from.
For an introduction to unagi for children, I recommend the Unagi Tempura Don (S$15). The same delicate fish slices were lightly battered and fried till crispy. After all, which kid doesn’t love fried food?
The dish came with an assortment of other tempura ingredients such as prawn and mushrooms. For a filling meal, order Set B (S$5) for a serving for noodles (soba or udon) and a side dish.
Lastly, throw in a portion of Umaki (S$3 for half portion) for a taste of the full works.
Rebranded from the previous 12-seater sushi bar, Omoté houses an expanded shop space at level three of Thomson Plaza. Other outlets have also sprouted around Singapore since then.
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 give the dish its unique fragrance and an extra layer of nuttiness.
No meal at Omote is complete without their Spicy River Squid (S$24.90) 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 with a Thai-inspired pestled lemongrass and chilli infusion, this dish was a tripartite of texture and flavours that I simply couldn’t get enough of.
Order delivery: Deliveroo
Formerly known as Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant, Unagi Tei Japanese Restaurant needs no further introduction. For the freshest and juiciest unagi, this is definitely one of the places to be.
Watch experienced Japanese chefs work their magic as they gut squirming live eels and grill them over white coals before your eyes.
A generous serving of fish is served with their Hitsumabushu and priced at S$35. Although this surpasses our initial budget, the price is well worth it. The dish features a bed of rice topped with two thick slabs of beautifully grilled unagi.
Alongside the main item, a robust broth and freshly grated wasabi are served. Hence, customers may jazz up their main course with these accompaniments according to their preferences.
Char-grilled to perfection enhanced by the tare marinade, each slice of unagi has two contrasting textures — a smooth tender white flesh coupled with crispy grilled skin. Each piece is like an umami bomb in your mouth, exploding with heavy notes of saltiness and sweetness.
Don’t forget to come early as long queues are expected.
Order delivery: Deliveroo
Nestled on the first floor of The Centrepoint is Misato, a quaint and classy Japanese restaurant. It serves up delicious Japanese food using traditional and authentic ingredients imported directly from Japan.
The a la carte main courses are affordably priced, ranging from S$15.90 to S$22.90.
I absolutely loved Misato’s Okonomiyaki (S$17.90), 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$19.90, 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$10.90).
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.
Located in a prime district of China Square Central, Koji Sushi Bar stands out as one of the best Japanese food joints along the stretch of shops. Only the freshest seafood is used here. Hardcore fans — like myself — simply cannot resist their selection of raw sashimi.
Mmhm, a nice and fresh bowl of Sashimi Rice Bowl (S$22), yet again at such a steal. The brand is known to serve up a trusty meal that comes with a side of salad and miso soup. Other than sashimi rice bowls, diners enjoy relatively affordable sushi sets that range from S$10 to S$33, too.
Pair your meal with must-get side dishes including Eggplant with Sweet Spring Onion Miso Sauce (S$12), Baked Oysters (S$15) and Cold Steamed Egg topped with Sea Urchin (S$13).
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.
Teppei Japanese Restaurant 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.
The menu runs fairly straightforward here. First, choose your rice bowl topped with various ingredients before adding on extra toppings.
Here’s a bowl of fresh Kaisen Don (S$15.10)! The dish consists of freshly diced salmon, tuna, yellowtail and scallop among others. For those who love to splurge, I recommend Nodoguro Kaisendon (S$21.20) for a taste of one of the most fatty white fish.
Otherwise, the Uni Kaisendon (S$21.20) or King Crab Kaisendon (S$18.80) are available for adventurous eaters.
Diners may pile on extra toppings for additional costs. Go big with their King Prawn Tempura (S$8) which comes with tempura dressing. Personally I can foresee myself ordering 3 slices of Medium Fatty Tuna (S$5), 5 slices of Scallop Sashimi (S$5) and the Oyster (S$5).
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.
1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, #01-18, Singapore 078867
+65 8831 5185
Mon to Fri: 11.45am – 2.30pm & 6.30pm – 10pm
Sat: 12pm – 2.30pm & 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Sun
With more than 40 years of experience in perfecting yakitori sticks, Nanbantei is no stranger to any Japanese food fan. Trust me, the restaurant is one of the best spots in Singapore for Japanese skewers.
If you have trouble choosing, simply leave it to the kitchen team to handle your lunch order.
Isn’t the Yakitori Bento simply a steal at a mere S$18.50? 2 sets are available which contain different skewers that vary slightly. Either way, each bento is packed to the brim with 5 yakitori sticks, Japanese rice and garnished with mushrooms.
Of course, the unforgettable fragrant taste of these old school charcoal-grilled skewers makes each set worth the price!
Other than this, Nanbantei has other options for their lunch menu, like the Wagyu Kushiyaki Bento (S$31.50) for those who love splurging.
Do take note that the dinner menu is way more expensive so have a look at their website before heading there. Besides the must-get yakitori, think sashimi, hot pots and dinner sets.
Order delivery: foodpanda
12. Tamoya Udon
Singapore is not short of ramen stalls. But what about other Japanese food such as udon? All hail Tamoya Udon‘s udon noodles from Tokyo. After all, who can deny the chewy and addictive texture of handmade noodles?
A large fanbase has been created since their opening and the brand continues to see dedicated customers returning for more of their Sanuki Beef Onsen Egg Udon (S$13.20).
Elaborately paired with succulent beef slices and a creamy egg, the freshly handmade udon is encapsulated with a myriad of flavours and textures. To contrast the rich flavours of its ingredients, a light bonito soup stock is used.
Another best-seller is none other than the Black Garlic Tonkotsu Udon (S$12.80). Tonkotsu broths are one of the most sought after flavours, its rich and creamy mouthfeel is too hard to resist!
For those who prefer an even stronger taste, mix in all the ingredients added to the dish to enjoy its maximum aroma and flavour.
13. The Sushi Bar
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.
Oh hello there, we meet again Kaisen Chirashi Don (S$27.90). A boatload of fresh and thick-sliced seafood are topped onto a Japanese rice bed. Start off with the basics: salmon, tuna and yellowtail pieces, before moving onto the fattier bites — think seared salmon belly. Oof, I certainly cannot resist that.
They are also very known for their Salmon Aburi Roll that costs a mere S$18.90. The perfect seared taste of seafood lingers while the slightly tangy rice slowly complements and washes away its fishy taste, prepping you for the next pop of maki.
Oh and did I mention the sushi roll is liberally drizzled with torched mentaiko sauce? Score!
It is usually pretty packed so do go down early if possible.
Order delivery: Deliveroo
14. Tanuki Raw
Tanuki Raw has expanded exponentially across the city, and for good reason — their specialty in Japanese food. Regulars cannot get enough of their filling rice bowls, fresh seafood and happy hour promotions.
Happy hour starts from 3pm to 8pm at Orchard Central; feast your eyes and stomach on a plethora of quality treats! Limited to 6 pieces per drink, get your hands on S$3 plump and large oysters. Oh and do not forget a serving of Salmon Sashimi (S$7) too.
Do not worry about the prices for each alcoholic beverage; choose from a list of martinis and cocktails priced from S$12 to S$14.
Whether you are a fan of rice or noodles, Tanuki Raw has got you covered with an extensive list of drool-worthy options. Nothing beats the heat better than the refreshing Truffle Yakiniku Chilled Yuzu Udon Noodles (S$24.90).
Otherwise, the Soboro Beef Rice So Nice is a great alternative and priced at S$14.90 — a fraction of the price for udon noodles. Beef and onions are caramelised until tender and savoury before an onsen egg completes the rice bowl.
To complete your lunch experience, top up S$3 for a portion of miso soup, green salad and green tea.
15. Mikoto Singapore
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 was drawn to their Onigiri (S$9) selection which comes in flavours of Salmon, Cod-roe, Whitebait, and more.
I tried the Minced Meat Cutlet (S$10) first. Soft and tender, the meat possesses a melt-in-mouth kind of goodness.
I also tried their Steamed Salmon & Mushroom (S$16). Take our word for it: I’ve never tasted a salmon so sweet after it had been steamed. The minced meat was really good too but salmon took the limelight, for sure.
For an Asian-fusion dish, look no further than the Cod-roe Pasta (S$18). Perfect as a quick lunch option, the Japanese-inspired pasta screams creamy, salty (in the best way) and umami.
16. Cafe & Meal MUJI
Cafe & Meal Muji serves various hot and cold food that are quintessentially Muji and Japanese. No frills, just a simple and nutritious meal that will leave you feeling healthier.
A single Hot Deli dish costs S$4.80 while a serving of Cold Deli is priced at S$2.80.
The Two Deli Set (S$14.80) consists of 1 hot deli and 1 cold deli, and gives you the choice between carbohydrate options like 16-grain rice, white rice or bread. Each set also comes accompanied with miso soup and an onsen egg, among other side dish 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. Not to mention, the beautiful purple hue display!
Their deli spans across 10 varieties, ensuring that it will catch the eye of even the most picky diner. Personal favourites include Prawn Couscous Salad with Yuzu-sesame Dressing, Marinated Squid, New Potato & Cauliflower Salad and Golden Sesame Crusted Salmon, Shoyu Sesame Leek Sauce.
The team isn’t short on desserts, too. Choose from 8 intricate desserts including the popular Hokkaido Burnt Cheesecake (S$8.90) or Honey Thyme Cremeux Castella Cake (S$7.90).
17. Hana Restaurant
Nestled inside Forum The Shopping Mall, Hana Restaurant serves up quality Japanese food while not burning a hole in your wallet.
Many know the brand for their affordable omakase-inspired sets; Hana Restaurant has now expanded their menu to include unfixed 12-plate tasting menus. To reduce the time spent on omakase meals, the team launched this new concept in hopes that it’ll attract diners with a tight schedule.
The cheapest set comes at a price of S$39.90 — noticeably higher than our budget but what’s a little splurge once in a while? The 12 dishes are served at one go so diners may choose to begin with whichever course they wish to.
A premium set is also available for those who wish to indulge in higher quality seafood. Naturally, this comes at a price — S$68 to be exact. Feast on half mentaiko lobster, grilled prawns, salmon carpaccio, and more.
What are you waiting for? Head down to enjoy this unique experience for yourself!