Oh My Don: Must-try restaurant-quality hawker donburis by ex-hotel chef at Yishun’s best-kept secret

It really isn’t difficult to find affordable Japanese food in Singapore. You could throw a stone in any direction and you’ll hit a coffeeshop or hawker centre that houses such a stall or two.

Affordable Japanese food that punches way above its price point, though? Pretty rare, I’d say. However, I’ll tell you right now that Oh My Don is a gem of a coffeeshop stall that offers exactly that.

Oh My Don - Stallfront

Oh My Don is a humble Japanese stall situated in an under-the-radar coffeeshop in Yishun. And it is nestled deep in the neighbourhood. Okay, it’s a short bus ride away from Yishun Interchange, but I had to take 3 buses in total to get there. Oh, the woes of living in the West.

But I digress. At the helm of the stall is Mr Lester Lai, who holds 14 years of culinary experience under his belt, including a noteworthy stint as sous chef at Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay. He opened Oh My Don in Jan 2022 and has been priding himself on a refined selection of atas donburis ever since.

I mean it when I say atas — think donburis meticulously plated in elegant Japanese-style stoneware bowls. The mere sight of it will make your mouth water like it did mine. Mr Lai even goes above and beyond by serving customers at their table when he isn’t too busy. It’s no wonder at all how the stall’s remote location hasn’t hindered it from garnering a following.

What I tried at Oh My Don

The menu consists of just 7 donburi options and a Salad Bowl (S$3.50) option. It’s streamlined and straightforward, or so you’d think. Saying that I was torn for choice would be a severe understatement; every single item looked absolutely enticing. I’d never wished for my stomach and wallet to be bottomless so badly before.

Oh My Don - Beef Steak with Truffle Ponzu Don

Regardless, I was already set on ordering the Beef Steak Don with Truffle Ponzu (S$10.90). The bed of rice was topped with edamame, an onsen egg and a literal heap of beef steak cubes garnished with seaweed strips. Forget scenic landscapes and mountaintop views; this dish is the definition of picturesque.

Oh My Don - Beef Steak Don with Truffle Ponzu

Like any Instagram addict, I couldn’t tuck in without first breaking into the onsen egg. To my delight, glorious lava-esque yolk flowed out as I pulled it apart with my chopsticks. Adorned with bright orange tobiko, the luscious yellow yolk made what was already a beautiful bowl more vibrant.

Oh My Don - Beef Steak Don with Truffle Ponzu

Alright, it was time to taste. I went straight for the star element: the beef cubes. Each sizable cube sported streaks of deep brown caramelisation and tiny flecks of black pepper. 

Having had my fair share of similar beef cubes, I didn’t have the highest of expectations as I’ve always known the street snack to be easily overcooked. However, I was thoroughly surprised by how easily I tore into this with my teeth; the meat was incredibly tender!

Lo and behold, it was coloured a blush pink that’s characteristic of a perfect medium steak. Achieving this level of doneness in such small cuts of steak must have taken much finesse; clearly, Mr Lai’s shone through.

The meat was moist and juicy, complemented by the light, citrusy sweetness of the ponzu and the earthy aroma of truffle. Tying it all together nicely were the smokiness of the sear and the sharpness of the black pepper. I savoured every piece because I never wanted to run out.

Oh My Don - Edamame & Rice

The Japanese rice was well-cooked and fluffy, save for parts of it that were a tad grainy. It paired well with the soft, crunchy edamame beans, which lent each spoonful a satisfying textural contrast. They also imparted a slight nutty sweetness that complemented the umami sprinkle of furikake.

As we worked our way through the bowl, my dining partner and I noticed that the rice itself possessed a discernible savouriness that reminded us of, well, flavoured rice. Despite its plain ol’ white appearance, it’s actually seasoned with Mr Lai’s homemade shoyu!

With every bite, Oh My Don only continued to impress.

TSUZUKU (つづく): $5.80 katsu sets by Japanese-Singaporean couple at Jalan Besar

Oh My Don - Miso Soup

I opted to complete my meal with Set A, which included a bowl of miso soup and 2 yaki cheese balls.

I’ll be honest: I’ve never liked miso soup. Its fermented undertones never fail to throw me off and I’ve always found its overall flavour profile a little too salty. However, as the oh-so-classic twist of fate would have it, I loved Oh My Don’s rendition.

The soup was comforting, light and aromatic. The savoury dashi stock provided it with much depth, complemented by the tanginess of the fermented soybeans and pleasant hints of sweetness likely from shoyu and the daikon radish within.

In the bowl were also the standard fixings of miso soup, including silken tofu cubes, shiitake mushroom slices and paper-thin pieces of kelp, all of which made the soup much more wholesome.

Oh My Don - Yaki Cheese Ball

Moving on, I dug into the yaki cheese ball. Topped with bonito flakes and a drizzle of mayonnaise, its resemblance to takoyaki was frankly uncanny. Biting into it made all the difference, though. Its firm meaty exterior gave way to a burst of rich, savoury golden cheese within. 

They were so tasty, I honestly felt a pang of regret for not getting the larger à la carte portion for S$4.90). Oh well, catch me doing exactly that next time!

Oh My Don - Japanese Curry Meatball Don

Now, my next choice was a toughie. After mulling it over for a while, I decided on the Japanese Curry Meatball Don (S$8.90). I already had half a mind to return anyway, so I wasn’t really missing out on the tempting Salmon Don with Mentaiko Sauce (S$8.90) and Korean Glazed Pork Belly Don (S$6.90)

This isn’t your usual Japanese curry rice. Here, the rice is blanketed by a thick layer of curry and generous amounts of mozzarella cheese. It’s studded with grilled meatballs and garnished with artfully arranged potatoes, carrots and cherry tomatoes. It somehow reminded me of a garden plot in food form!

Before I get to writing about the food, let’s take a moment to admire Oh My Don’s gorgeous utensils. High quality fare aside, eating from those elegant stoneware bowls with elongated wooden spoons and chopsticks really made it feel as though I was dining in an atas Japanese restaurant.

Oh My Don - Meatball

First things first, the meatballs. Each grilled morsel was hefty and firm, with lightly crisped, charred bits on its exterior from the caramelisation of its glaze and marinade. Judging by how irregularly shaped they were, they were clearly handmade.

The meat within was incredibly juicy and perfectly seasoned, bursting with a sweet-savoury blend of garlic, pepper and soy. Subtle hints of smokiness added a delightful complexity that made each bite just so addictive. I had to resist the urge to devour all of the meatballs in one shot, instead savouring each bite and letting the flavours linger on my tongue. 

Oh, they truly embodied the saying, “good things come in small packages”.

Oh My Don - Japanese Curry Meatball Don

The curry had a rich and velvety consistency. It was robust and aromatic, with a light spice and mellow sweetness that complemented the umami notes of its base. It clung wonderfully to the rice and paired well with it, too.

As a cheese lover, I absolutely adored the addition of mozzarella cheese. It imparted a savoury creaminess that served as a nice contrast to the sweetness of the curry, and added a layer of depth and indulgence to the dish as a whole. 

The stretchy texture of the cheese brought a fun touch as well; I couldn’t stop lifting spoonfuls of it just to see how high my cheese pulls could go!

In all, Oh My Don’s rendition of this Japanese staple and the cheesy spin they put on it was downright delicious. Well-rounded and comforting, there couldn’t have been a better way to conclude my meal.

Final Thoughts

Oh My Don - Beef Steak Don with Truffle Ponzu & Set

I never thought there’d come a day where I’d envy Yishun residents, but here we are.

I made my visit to Oh My Don with pretty lofty expectations and boy, not only did it exceed all of them but also set the bar for affordable Japanese fare at an all time high. With restaurant-quality fare at wallet-friendly prices, impeccable presentation and amazing service to boot, it truly is in a league of its own and everything you could possibly want in a Japanese stall.

In case it wasn’t clear enough, I will definitely be returning to try the rest of the menu and have what I had again. And yes, I’ll willingly brave the 2-hour commute.

Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$10.90 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Oh My Don

431 Yishun Avenue 1, #01-01, Singapore 760431

Our Rating 5/5

Oh My Don

431 Yishun Avenue 1, #01-01, Singapore 760431

Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun
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