Tokachi Tontaro: Taste The Goodness Of Kagoshima Pork At This Japanese Joint In Plaza Singapura

You’ve definitely tried Japanese food, but what about dishes from Kagoshima? Kagoshima, located on Japan’s Kyushu island, is known for their pork.

If you can’t travel all the way to Japan, Tokachi Tontaro offers Kagoshima pork in their Buta Don.

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We visited the Plaza Singapura outlet to find out what’s so special about this pork. Surprisingly, the restaurant was empty during lunch hour, so we could have a leisurely meal.

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The wooden interior appealed to me, because it created a warm and welcoming ambience.

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The slices of pork meat are first marinated in a homemade tare sauce before going onto the grill.

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The grill area was separated with a glass panel, so that customers can observe the entire grilling process using tungsten heat. It’s not every day that you get to take a look at what happens behind-the-scenes!

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We tried the Premium Buta Don ($22.80/regular, $25.80/large) and the Spicy Tomato Buta Don ($11.80/small, $13.80/regular, $16.80/large). The difference between the two is that Kagoshima pork is used in the Premium Buta Don, while U.S. pork is used in the Spicy Tomato Buta Don.

We ordered the large for both and it was really filling. Although both variants of pork look similar, they differed in taste.

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Every piece of pork was evenly cut and it was not quite bite-sized. Unless you have a big mouth like me, you’ll have to cut the meat into smaller pieces.

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Thankfully, you can customise how you want your food prepared, ranging from the amount of rice served, the amount of sauce used, and the size of meat slices. That way you can request for the meat to be cut smaller and not end up looking like a hamster while stuffing your mouth.

Another thing that we like is that the rice is less sticky as compared to other Japanese rice, because Tokachi Tontaro uses Hokkaido’s Yumepirika rice, one of the best rice brands in Japan.

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We started with the Premium Buta Don, which came with tender and soft Kagoshima pork. With every bite, the fragrance of pepper paired with the sweet homemade tare sauce accentuated the flavour of the pork. The fats on the rim of the pork were crispy and it melted in our mouth.

The meat was well-marinated, and every inch of the pork was saturated with the sweet tare sauce. Pair the meat with the sliced spring onion to enjoy an additional crunchy texture.

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The Spicy Tomato Buta Don had a different flavour altogether. The U.S. pork had a firmer texture and wasn’t as juicy as the Kagoshima pork.

The spicy sauce used was also sweet, but the flavour was a little overpowering for my liking. The sweet and spicy taste lingered in my mouth while chewing on the meat, which masked the taste of the U.S. pork. It wasn’t too spicy which was a major plus for those who can’t handle too much spice.

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Something interesting on the menu was the Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese ($6.50), which is basically Japanese potato rice cake. Made of cheese and potato, this dish was one that we were excited to try. Who could say no to cheese?

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Pulling apart the dish revealed not only the mochi and cheese filling, but also a sheen of oil coating the surface. The skin was a tad too soft, and because the cheese and mochi filling was also soft, the dish had little contrasting texture. If the skin was crispier, it would be perfect.

On a positive note, there was a good balance between the cheese and mochi filling, and we didn’t find the cheese’s aroma pungent. The saltiness of the potato and the hint of sourness from the cheese paired well together too.

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We also tried the Hokkaido Crab Cream Croquette ($7). The first thing that caught my attention was how crispy it looked!

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Cutting into it revealed a creamy crab paste, which had a runny consistency and a subtle hint of crab aroma. We found the texture a little too creamy for our liking though. If you’re a fan of mashed potato, you’ll enjoy this dish.

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The last item we ordered was the Shrimp Gyoza ($6.50). This was our favourite side dish simply because of its texture. It was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with an ear-pleasing crunch with every bite.

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It was a delightful moment when we sank our teeth into the shrimps and vegetables inside. We liked how the vegetables gave an added crunch, although the crust itself was already crispy enough.

The shrimp left a pleasing aftertaste which lingered in our mouth and faded slowly.

Tokachi Tontaro did not disappoint, but there were some misses too. If you’re keen on trying the Premium Buta Don, go for it! That’s the one dish I would recommend trying. Given the value-for-money, it’s really worth the visit.

Expected Damage: $12 – $26 per pax

Tokachi Tontaro: 68 Orchard Road, #06-11/12, Plaza Singapura, Singapore 238839 | Tel: +65 6455 2033 | Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Daily) | Outlets | Website | Facebook