Affordable Authentic Japanese Food Right In Town
Do not let the humble location of Udon Goen fool you – Even though the restaurant is situated in Food Republic at the top level of Wisma Atria, it’s easy to simply dismiss it another stall in a foodcourt.
All of their chefs hail directly from Japan – I could understand that much from the smattering of English we exchanged, which means that you are entitled to authentic, true-blue Japanese food when you choose to dine at Udon Goen.
The stall’s offerings do not pale in comparison to some of the higher-end Japanese restaurants; Udon Goen has a healthy number of items listed on their menu: udon, ramen and Japanese curry rice. When we were there, we noticed that business was brisk at the stall. There were always people queuing to get a little taste of Japan.
As it was just the two of us: Chui Choo and I, we requested to try only two of their signature and most well-received dishes. This both reduced food wastage and allowed us to really get to the bottom of the plates.
At the chef’s urging, we tried out Udon Goen’s Tonkotsu Special Ramen ($10.80). Brewed for a grueling 10 hours, the homemade Tonkotsu broth was deliciously thick and full of flavour. I also liked that it wasn’t too salty – many of the ramen I have eaten have left me craving for water because of the sky-high levels of sodium. The noodles were also cooked just right in firmness; al-dente, just the way I prefer them.
Special mention goes out to their Japanese marinated soft-boiled ajitama egg. I’ve sadly never managed to grasp the technique of cooking Japanese soft-boiled eggs myself so imagine my delight when I discovered that the ramen egg was firm but still wonderfully runny on the inside. Pork slices were not the best I’ve eaten but at $10.80 a bowl, I’m not really complaining!
The other item we tried was their Japanese Chicken Katsu Original Curry Rice ($6.80). Let that price point sink in for a while. $6.80 for all that fried goodness right in the middle of town? We were pretty shocked too.
While the curry tasted like those Golden Curry Packets you could easily find in the supermarket, the fried chicken katsu was extraordinary. The meat remained tender and juicy within even though its crust was deep-fried to a touching deep golden-brown colour. I can still hear the crunch resonating in my head the moment I bit into it. Mmm.
While there’s definitely room for improvement on Udon Goen’s dishes, I recognise the difficulties of finding affordable Japanese cuisine right in the heart of town area and feel that Goen Udon has the potential of rising to fill that gap. Do give them a try the next time you’re craving for some Japanese food in Orchard but are constrained by the amount of cash left in your wallet.
Expected Damage: $7 – $15 per pax