One thing that I’m extremely grateful for in Singapore’s culture is our love of food from all different countries and origins, and thanks to the following restaurants I’m about to mention, Japanese food has evolved from a rare luxury to something I can enjoy on a regular basis.
Today, we’ll be discussing one of the classics of Japanese food—chirashi don, the mother of all dons. If an Instagram username—namely mine—ode to my favourite Japanese dish does not suffice to show just how obsessed I am with chirashi dons, an article devoted to seeking out the best and most affordable of them all is sure to be telling enough.
In Singapore, chirashi, meaning ‘scattered’, is a bowl of rice that is usually topped with vegetables and a variety of raw sliced or diced fish. Why I mentioned Singapore specifically is due to the fact that in certain regions of Japan, chirashi can also be purely a bowl of rice that is topped with vegetables. That is certainly not the case here because I cannot begin to fathom the thought of my chirashi not having any raw sashimi.
So, #StayHome and indulge in these 12 Singapore chirashi dons that are all under S$30 right from the comfort of home.
Mmhm, a nice and fresh bowl of Bara Chirashi (S$18) yet again at such a steal. Nestled in China Square Central, Koji Sushi serves up a trusty meal that comes with a side of salad and miso soup. Other than Bara Chirashi, it does serve relatively affordable sushi sets that range from S$9 – S$23 and even an omakase meal if you’re feeling indulgent.
If you’re heading there for lunch, be careful of the crowd as it is very popular amongst the CBD dwellers. They’ve also recently opened an outlet at Raffles City, so knock yourself out.
For this Circuit Breaker period, they’re launched #KojiBento, so you get Koji’s signature bento sets delivered to your doorstep. The dishes available for delivery can be found on their Facebook page and orders can be made via this link, with free delivery over S$100!
Koji Sushi Bar Raffles: 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #03-28A, Singapore 179103 | Tel: +65 6493 0122 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm (Daily)
2. Teppei Japanese Restaurant/Hana Hana
Here’s a bowl of freshness and quality fish—Bara Chirashi (S$17.60). And if raw sashimi isn’t your thing, Teppei does have a tempura set lunch that ranges from S$16.50 – 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 all know how much quality it serves and we also know how affordable it is considering its quality.
Hana Hana is also owned by the same group as Teppei and is situated 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.
Lucky for us, they are still open for takeaway orders—message your name, order and pick-up time (at least 30 minutes in advance) to +65 88315185. They have also announced certain areas where they will be delivering to, details to which can be found on their Facebook page.
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
Do not doubt this little gem that is sitting quietly in the corner of Takashimaya’s basement because they serve up famous Chef Teppei’s bara chirashi here in Teppei Syokudo as well. The cubes of sashimi in their Signature Kaisen Don (S$16) are thick and hearty, tossed with their goma sauce like the mentsuyu (noodle sauce base), giving it a fragrant and savoury taste. It is topped with crunchy tempura bits to add that extra texture.
The portion is good and very inexpensive, with all prices being nett. Though there can still be a slight queue during meal times, it is definitely much shorter than the ones at Teppei Restaurant itself and yes, I’d definitely recommend this. Do note that there are four outlets, with two as a takeaway stand and the other two as restaurants. The restaurants are situated at Republic Boulevard and another at Millenia Walk, while the takeaways are at Republic Plaza and Takashimaya.
They have introduced an enhanced delivery and pick-up service, with a list of MRT control stations that will serve as pick-up points during the stipulated time slots. Simply order from their website and pick up your meals from staff members at your preferred location! Enjoy free delivery as long as you spend a minimum of S$30, and find more details on their Facebook page here.
4. The Sushi Bar
Oh hello there, we meet again Kaisen Chirashi Don (S$22.90 for small/S$26.90 for regular). At The Sushi Bar, be prepared for an indulgent bowl of fresh sashimi topped with ikura. A decent portion that will satisfy your hunger and isn’t overly expensive, The Sushi Bar is one of the affordable options. If the regular portion is too large, opt for the smaller one, which is of course, cheaper.
Not only these, but they are also known for their Aburi Salmon 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. This restaurant is usually pretty packed, so do go down early if possible. Luckily, they’ve now opened two more stalls across Singapore, so you can choose the one closest to you, although the menu may not be as extensive as the original outlet at Ngee Ann.
The Sushi Bar is available on Deliveroo and Grabfood, and they’ve also launched their own delivery service, for which they’ve put together a special delivery and takeaway menu. Delivery is free for orders above S$100 or for a fee of S$5, and orders can be made via WhatsApp or text message. More details can be found on their website here!
The Sushi Bar Far East: 14 Scotts Road, Far East Plaza, #04-28, Singapore 228213 | Tel: +65 9653 6464 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3.30pm & 5pm – 9.45pm (Mon to Thurs), 11.30am – 9.45pm (Fri to Sun)
The Sushi Bar Tampines: 10 Tampines Central 1, Tampines 1, #04-09, Singapore 529536 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 3.45pm & 5.30pm – 9.45pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am – 9.45pm (Sat & Sun)
5. Tanuki Raw
Honestly, who could get enough of these bowls of sashimi happiness right? Tanuki Raw serves up a good bowl of freshness at a steal—Chirashi Don (S$18.80). Apart from their generous ingredients including unique ones like sea bream and white tuna and their signature mixed rice, you can either have it cut up (bara) or just a normal chirashi, both at the same pricing.
If you are not a big fan of raw fish, there are other rice bowls such as the Truffle Yakiniku Don and kickass maki rolls that are unique to Tanuki Raw. They also have a Happy Hour menu, with value deals like freshly shucked oysters for only S$2 and 11 grams of Uni for S$10 from 5pm – 8pm daily.
Throughout the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, Tanuki Raw will be open for take-away and islandwide delivery. All available menu items and the link to order can be found on their website with free delivery over S$80.
Tanuki Raw Kapok: 111 Middle Road, National Design Centre, #01-05, Singapore 188989 | Tel: +65 9035 9398 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Daily)
Tanuki Raw Jewel: 78 Airport Boulevard, Jewel Changi Airport, #05-202, Singapore 819666 | Tel +65 8590 4900 | Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm (Daily)
Another great bowl of raw goodness, Manzoku is the sister restaurant of the famed Chikuwa Tei by the Yoi Group. Situated on Purvis Street, this quaint little joint serves a delicious bowl of Chirashi (S$18) with all the quintessential ingredients and definitely value-for-money.
Other than the chirashi, Manzouku also serves a wide variety of Japanese food such as yakitori, nigiri and so on. What really caught my eye was a yakitori of chicken hearts. Mmhm. They have recently launched an online store, taking orders for islandwide deliveries. Two of their stores will also remain open for takeaway, Chikuwatei and Kira~Kira.
Manzoku: 18 Purvis Street, Singapore 188597 | Tel: +65 6734 4436 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 6pm – 10pm (Mon to Fri), 11am – 3pm & 6pm -10pm (Sat), 11am – 3pm & 5.30pm – 9.30pm (Sun) | Website
7. Umi Nami
A hidden gem tucked away in the back lane of Holland Village, Umi Nami serves up some of the best Japanese dons around for its price point, in my opinion at least.
Their Bara Chirashi Don (S$10) is the cheapest don on the menu, and also probably their most-ordered dish. For just S$10, it comes with a generous serving of marinated salmon and tuna chunks, along with tamago and shrimps atop traditional sushi rice, topped with a sprinkling of glistening tobiko.
The one dish that has me constantly coming back here is their Special Salmon Don (S$14), which features salmon sashimi cubes seared to perfection, drizzled with Japanese mayo and tobiko. The aburi, melt-in-your-mouth salmon paired with sinful, rich mayo makes for a simply heavenly mouthful.
The best part about this place—there’s no GST or service charge, so it’s the perfect restaurant to satisfy those Japanese food cravings without breaking the bank. Take note that they don’t accept reservations, so you might want to go earlier to avoid the night-time crowds.
Unfortunately, they have not rolled out any delivery options during this period, so you can put this on your list of places to visit once the COVID-19 situation has calmed down, or visit them for takeaway only.
Umi Nami: 8 Lorong Mambong, Singapore 277674 |Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm & 6pm – 11pm (Daily) | Facebook
Run by the team behind Sushi Tei Pte Ltd, Hokkaido-Ya is a casual Japanese eatery at VivoCity, aiming to provide Hokkaido-inspired dishes and Japanese favourites using premium ingredients. After opening its doors in June 2018, Hokkaido-Ya has captured the hearts of many, including myself, with its quality Japanese dons at affordable prices.
One of their signature dishes is the Bara Chirashi Don (S$13.90), which comes with a generous serving of salmon and tuna sashimi, along with mini scallops, amaebi, cucumber, tamago, tobiko and ikura. They even throw in tiny fried tempura bits, adding that extra bit of crunch to a mouthful of savoury fish, sweet shrimp and egg and classic sushi rice.
My personal favourite is their Aburi Mentai Bara Chirashi Don (S$14.90), with a generous drizzling of mentaiko sauce over their bara chirashi don and seared to a fragrant char. Apart from dons, they also serve a spread of ramen and curry rice dishes if you’re craving something different.
Hokkaido-Ya is on Deliveroo, and they are still open for takeaway daily at their stores in VivoCity and Thomson Plaza. They’re also offering a takeaway bundle set from S$11.90 for a value meal and S$22 for a set meal for two, exclusive at their VivoCity outlet till 4 May 2020 for the period of the ‘Circuit Breaker’!
Hokkaido-Ya: 1 HarbourFront Walk, VivoCity, #02-153, Singapore 098585 | Tel:+65 6376 8387 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
Hokkaido Ya Thomson: 301 Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Plaza, #03-49, Singapore 574408 | Tel: +65 6254 0010 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Daily)
Situated in myVillage, a heartland mall at Serangoon Gardens, [email protected] is an unassuming eatery serving up premium Japanese dons for under S$20. Apart from selling quality Japanese food, this restaurant also prides itself on creating a homely atmosphere, the perfect place for good food but also for casual drinks with friends.
Their Bara-Chirashi Don (S$15.80) features chunks of tender salmon, tuna and swordfish, marinated in their special in-house sauce, tamago and topped with generous amounts of tobiko and ikura. Their sashimi is delivered fresh every day, and they use all premium cuts instead of off-cuts in their Bara Chirashi Don, so rest assured that you’ll be getting your money’s worth and more.
Another option for meat lovers is the Wagyu Beef Don (S$18.80), containing pan-seared premium wagyu beef, drizzled with truffle shoyu and sprinkled with redolent garlic bits over onsen egg on white rice. The combination of juicy beef, creamy egg and piquant garlic will surely have you reaching for another spoonful.
For the month of the ‘Circuit Breaker’, [email protected] is launching islandwide delivery so that we can all enjoy their food from the comfort of our homes. Place your orders by filling out this form and enjoy free delivery for orders above S$50.
[email protected]: 1 Maju Avenue, myVillage, #01-09/10, Singapore 556679 | Tel: +65 9119 0700 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm & 5.30pm – 10pm (Mon to Thurs), 11.30am – 2.30pm & 5.30pm – 12am (Fri), 11.30am – 12am (Sat), 11.30am – 10pm (Sun) | Facebook | Instagram
Occupying an expanded shop space from their previous 12-seater sushi bar at Thomson Plaza, Omoté is a modern yet welcoming Japanese restaurant, serving a smorgasbord of different dishes at prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Omoté is known for their signature chirashi don, but their newest menu addition features the Umami Soy Chirashi (S$17.80), which is described as ‘second-generation favourite redefined with a new age roasted stock of soy marinade creation’. This unique dish includes your usual fresh sashimi cubes, each individually coated with savoury soy sauce, liberally covered with ikura atop a bed of fluffy Japanese rice.
The freshness and quality of the sashimi, coupled with the ground sesame seeds that added an extra hint of nuttiness and fragrance, made this chirashi don particularly unique and indulgent. They also have a new range of cooked food as part of their extended menu, like Prawn Ramen (S$19.80) and Spicy River Squid (S$13).
If you want to get your hands on Omoté’s dishes, they’re encouraging customers to order via WhatsApp or call-ins at +65 9450 1020 or +65 9452 1521, and let them know if you’d like to pick up in-store or via drive-thru. They will also be offering free delivery to those staying within a certain radius of their restaurant, which can be found on their Instagram page.
Omoté: 301 Upper Thomson Road, Thomson Plaza, #03-24A, Singapore 574408 | Tel: +65 9450 1020 | Opening Hours: 11.45am – 2.15pm & 5.45pm – 9.15pm(Mon, Wed to Sun), Closed on Tues | Facebook | Instagram
While Chirashi King Kong’s nondescript exterior may not seem appealing, you won’t be surprised to see the long snaking queues outside their outlet at Tanjong Pagar Plaza after you try their food. Serving affordable Japanese-inspired dishes without compromising the quality of their ingredients, it’s no secret why this tiny stall is so popular.
The King Kong Chirashi (S$14.90) is one of the bestsellers in Chirashi King Kong as it contains otoro slices (the fattiest part of the tuna). The dish is accompanied with seaweed, jellyfish and pickles. However, you could also have the choice of minced otoro.
If you are not a fan of rice, Chirashi King Kong also provides the option of spaghetti instead of rice. Their Salmon Mentaiko Truffle Spaghetti (S$9.90) highlights the truffle-infused spaghetti with the creamy and slightly gritty mentaiko sauce that blankets the aburi salmon.
Exclusively for 16 April 2020, they are launching delivery for those living in the East, and orders are to be submitted before 9pm on 15 April 2020 via this form. More details regarding delivery can be found on their Instagram and Facebook pages! Take note that they will be closed on the weekends for takeaway, so pop down during the weekdays to tapau some of their classic dons. They are also available on Deliveroo and Grabfood!
Chirashi King Kong Millenia Walk: 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, #02-17, Singapore 039596 | Tel: +65 8733 5537 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 8pm (Daily)
Chirashi King Kong NEUROS: 8 Biomedical Grove, Neuros, #01-14, Singapore 138655 | Tel: +65 8733 5573 | Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat, Sun & PH
12. Phoon Huat Deli
If you’re an avid baker, you might be surprised to see Phoon Huat Deli on this list, since they’re known to be a bakery supply shop. Recently, they opened a Redman outlet-cum-supermarket at The Star Vista selling their usual baking goods, alongside a counter with in-house chefs to make fresh Japanese dons on the spot.
Their Premium Chirashi Don (S$22.88) boasts a bounty of salmon, Japanese scallops, amberjack, prawns and bluefin tuna, ocean-fresh and served up in satisfyingly thick slices. Paired with the sweet tamago, this quality of this dish is as good as the ones you’d find in a restaurant.
If you’re trying to budget, go for the Negishake Mentai Don (S$9.88), trust me that you won’t be disappointed. Even before digging in, the irresistible fragrance of the charred salmon, paired with the mentaiko sauce is sure to entice you. Topped with tobiko that adds crunchy bursts of briny flavour along with the savoury pollock roe, this dish is definitely one you shouldn’t sleep on.
The outlet at The Star Vista is the only one that offers these made-to-order Japanese bowls, so you’ll have to take a trip to the West for these extremely value-for-money bowls. All Phoon Huat Deli outlets will be open during this ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, while their online store delivers any baking goods you might need straight to you.
Now that you’ve been duly informed of the best chirashi dons in Singapore for under S$30, share this valuable knowledge with all your friends and order one of these bowls for yourself to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Or order one of each, I’m not judging. Stay safe, and if you’re going out, always wear a mask and #tapauplease!