Sun With Moon: Uncover The Secret To Japanese Longevity With Okinawan Summer Delights In Orchard

Sun With Moon Japanese Dining & Café is pretty much a household name in the Orchard dining scene.

Situated in Wheelock Place, this café-restaurant specialises in a mix of modern and traditional Japanese cuisine, boasting an excellent repertoire of kamameshi, sushi, sashimi, and bento sets.

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Customers can enjoy delicacies from various Japanese prefectures from the regional speciality menu, which changes every three months. This time, the Okinawa Summer Fair is back for the fourth year running.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the “age-defying” properties of Okinawan cuisine, given that Okinawa is home to one of the highest centenarian populations in the world.

Heavily influenced by Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine, the low-calorie and high-carbohydrate Okinawan diet is certainly worth diving into.

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Shikuwasa, a local Okinawan lime with a rich and sour citrusy taste, is the key ingredient in the beverage lineup.

I obviously had to try the Shikuwasa Juice (S$4.80), which tasted like a refreshing and more complex lime juice. Calpis fans would love the Okinawa Island (S$5.80), a smooth concoction of Shikuwasa juice, honey, Hokkaido milk, and soda.

Need to unwind? Let your hair down with the alcoholic (and extremely drinkable) Shikuwasa Sake Cooler (S$6).

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Umibudo (S$12.80), otherwise known as green caviar or sea grapes, is a seaweed variety like no other.

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These crunchy little “bubbles” popped delightfully in my mouth, releasing a burst of fresh, briny saltiness.

Umibudo is an acquired taste, and you’ll “sea” what I mean when you try it.

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I didn’t really like the Okinawa Natural Mozuku (S$5.80), vinegary and stringy seaweed topped with grated ginger. It was mainly a textural issue for me, as I found it way too slimy.

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Moving on to something familiar, the Pork Tamago Avocado Roll (S$15.80) is fun for the whole family.

We agreed that the combination of spam, tamagoyaki, and cucumber with creamy sliced avocado, ebiko and spicy mayonnaise sauce was delicious. Then again, you’re better off choosing something from the extensive maki roll selection in the regular menu.

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You may not have heard of Shima Rakkyo Tempura (S$10.80), but it’s not unlike your typical vegetable tempura.

The Okinawa island scallions were deep-fried to a light golden crisp, and are best paired with beer or the indigenous Awamori liquor.

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Oohs and aahs echoed around the table as the collagen-heavy Nankotsu Soki Aburi Yaki (S$10.80) was brought out.

Caramelised in a sweet and sticky glaze, these Okinawa-style grilled pork spare ribs exhibited sinewy meat and cartilage intertwined with chunks of creamy, unctuous fat. This melt-in-your-mouth moment of indulgence was one I slowly relished.

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Moving on, it’s time for the iconic Goya Champuru (S$14.80), the homely stir-fry that is arguably Okinawa’s representative dish.

I’ve always harboured feelings of animosity towards bitter gourd, an Okinawan staple. Thankfully, its bitterness wasn’t too pronounced, blending in wonderfully with the creamy eggs, salty spam, and firm tofu.

A scattering of bonito flakes completed this comforting dish and this is something I wouldn’t mind enjoying with a bowl of rice.

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I was especially pleased with the Rafute (S$10.80), braised pork belly marinated Okinawa-style in Awamori liquor and brown sugar.

Chunky meat with layers of gelatinous fat slowly simmering in a sweet, robust broth, this definitely gets a “yes, please” from me!

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I was obsessed (as I always am) with the marinated eggs, their deep orange yolks concentrated with rich, savoury flavour.

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Kamameshi, or flavoured rice steamed with various ingredients in an iron pot, is a Sun with Moon signature.

We were introduced to the Beef Steak Kamameshi (S$29.80): grilled steak and pickled ginger topped steamed rice with mushroom, chestnut, konjac, edamame and seaweed.

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How does one eat kamameshi?

Using the hourglass as a timer, let the kamameshi steam for one minute, before evenly mixing the ingredients and rice together. In this iteration, a mild spicy sauce was poured into the mix.

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We first tried the kamameshi on its own and were greeted with flavourful, charred rice radiating with a pleasantly pungent heat (from the ginger).

I found the beef slices to be tough, chewy and just a tad too gamey.

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Once you’re left with a final portion of kamameshi, pour in the dashi broth and enjoy it like Japanese chazuke. I never say no to heartwarming dashi, but it had sapped the rice of all its flavour.

I very much preferred the dry version in this case.

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The final dish before dessert was the Okinawa Soba (S$17.80), which is Okinawa-style wheat noodles in a pork and seafood broth.

Ending the meal at Sun With Moon with bowls of steaming broth with pork spare ribs was appreciated, but there really wasn’t much to say about them. Decent and delicate, perhaps?

You can also opt for braised pork belly or mozuku kakiage (seaweed tempura) if you like.

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At last, it was time for dessert.

I gravitated towards the Satou-Kibi Ice Cream (S$4.80), made with Okinawa brown sugar produced from sugar cane, that was reminiscent of fragrant caramel.

The Beni Imo Ice Cream (S$4.80), starring Okinawa sweet potatoes, was more subtle and milky. It is jazzed up with mini deep-fried doughnuts and brown sugar syrup in the Sata Andangi & Beni Imo Ice (S$5.80).

One thing to note: ice crystals were aplenty, so don’t expect a smooth or luscious mouthfeel.

There are hits and misses within this Okinawa Summer Fair menu, but no matter, you are free to order from both the extensive regular and speciality menus.

At the end of the day, Sun With Moon serves as a fine introduction to the wondrous world of this underappreciated cuisine. Remember, this seasonal menu won’t be available for much longer.

Perhaps we’ll feel inspired to take a trip to Okinawa one day — the secret to longevity lies in wait.

Expected Damage: S$30 – S$40 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Sun With Moon Japanese Dining & Café

501 Orchard Road, Wheelock Place, #03-15, Singapore 238880

Our Rating 4/5

Sun With Moon Japanese Dining & Café

501 Orchard Road, Wheelock Place, #03-15, Singapore 238880

Telephone: +65 6733 6636
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10pm (Sun - Thu & PH), 11.30am - 10.30pm (Fri, Sat & Eve of PH)
Telephone: +65 6733 6636

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 10pm (Sun - Thu & PH), 11.30am - 10.30pm (Fri, Sat & Eve of PH)
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