With protein bowls becoming commonplace in Singapore, a new donburi (rice bowl) shop may not seem all that exciting. But donburi with crispy fish sprinkles?
Springing up in the heart of the CBD, DOCO Donburi is a small five-seater food kiosk at International Plaza. ‘Doco’ comes from ‘donburi‘ and ‘coconut’ so expect a menu featuring bowls of donburi, and a coconut-flavoured drink and dessert.
With a self-service system and counter-top seating, DOCO’s layout is reminiscent of the quick grab-and-go style kiosks in Japan. The donburi can also be prepared in five – ten minutes, ideal for a quick lunch bite. Diners can finish their meal on the move as the food is served in eco-friendly disposable containers.
When you come to DOCO, you must try their exotic specialty fish sprinkles that come in generous portions with all the donburi. Or as they call it, fish sh-prinkles for the added sh-iokness.
Lightly salted and crispy, the fish skin sh-prinkles are the perfect indulgent treat for sprucing up the rice bowls.
For those feeling a little adventurous, you can choose their spicy cajun fish sh-prinkles instead. Dusted with cajun spice, you can expect a tongue-burning experience that will make your tastebuds tingle.
However, I found that with the additional cajun seasoning, the spicy sh-prinkles were a tad too salty.
My favourite of the three donburi flavours was the Sh-nack Don ($9.90) or beef bowl. Filled with a generous helping of grilled beef, fish sh-prinkles and even an onsen tamago, this less-than-$10 bowl is definitely worth its price. All it’s missing is some greens to cut through the jelak-ness.
The beef is marinated with in-house teriyaki sauce and pepper, before being scorched dramatically with a blowtorch. While the meat was juicy, it could have been a little more tender. More importantly, I liked that the beef wasn’t over-seasoned, and paired well with the saltier fish skin.
Those seeking donburi with a more local flavour can try DOCO’s Sh-otah Don ($9.90). You’ll get three thick chunks of spicy fish otah (grilled fish cake), which was just as good as those you’d find at hawker centres. For this bowl, I recommend getting the original fish sh-prinkles as the otah was quite spicy.
While an unusual choice of protein for donburi, I actually really liked the otah combination. The thick otah was soft and the coconut milk added a creamy sweetness that was quite delightful. Those who can handle the spice level should definitely give the Sh-otah Don a go!
DOCO’s Sh-ken Don ($9.90) is a chicken bowl that’s perfect for those wanting a sweeter alternative. Glazed in honey miso, the chicken meat was the right balance of sweet and salty. The miso chicken was also sous vide to achieve a soft tenderness that contrasted the crispy fish sh-prinkles well.
I simply couldn’t resist bursting the delicate onsen egg. The yolk that oozed out added a creamy flavour to the Japanese rice bowl. Mix the yolk in thoroughly to enjoy the donburi at its best!
Donburi might not be the healthiest of meals, but DOCO’s newest addition is! The Sh-alad ($9.90) is a no-carbs alternative, and diners can get any of the three proteins with salad and of course, fish sh-prinkles.
With a choice of five toppings from a selection spanning cherry tomatoes to lotus root, you can craft your salad bowl to your liking.
To pair with the saltier fish skin, DOCO offers a refreshing Coconut Shake ($3 add-on with any donburi order/$4.90 ala-carte). Disclaimer — this isn’t a coconut milkshake.
Mixed with fresh coconut water and soft coconut flesh, the Coconut Shake was naturally sweet, making for a healthier blend. Just the ideal cooler on a hot day!
To end off on a sweet note, I had DOCO’s signature dessert, the Coconut Soft Serve ($3 add-on with any donburi order/$4.90 ala-carte). Unlike typical soft serve, DOCO’s rendition is made without any dairy or gluten.
Concocted from coconut water and a bit of coconut milk, the soft serve was light with a smooth slushy-like consistency.
The soft serve is then finished with 100% organic gula melaka, which added a caramel-like sweetness. To my delight, I also found bits of coconut flesh in the soft serve that gave it a bit of texture. Altogether, this was just the thing to cleanse the palate after the heavier donburi.
With the protein bowls, DOCO serves up a wholesome meal that would fill your belly for under $10 a bowl. Their natural coconut drink and dessert also provided a refreshing finish to the meal.
As for fish sprinkles on donburi? Even though I did find the sh-prinkles a little salty, they did provide an interesting crunch to the donburi. Sinful, yet absolutely delicious! I approve, so sh-prinkle some love on DOCO and take a bite of this unique donburi with delicious fish skin.
Expected Damage: $9 – $20 per pax