Yugo Yakiniku: Muslim-owned flame-torched donburis with premium meats

I’ve yet to understand how rice bowls are a thing. I mean, I eat rice from a bowl and the only person who bats an eye is my mom for leaving my dish unwashed. Jokes aside, rice bowls have become a quiet phenomenon — you see them everywhere these days. And unlike the somewhat pretentious smoothie bowls, rice bowls play a role in being versatile and easy to eat. That was the expectation I had coming to Yugo Yakiniku located at Jurong West Street 42.

Yugo Yakiniku - Exterior Shot

Recently opened on 1 Oct 2022, Yugo Yakiniku is the brainchild of both Carol and Arayaan, friends who first met during their jobs as delivery drivers. The pair had zero experience in any food-related industry and decided to set up Yugo Yakiniku because of their passion for cooking. They also specifically chose to open a yakiniku stall as it had a low barrier of entry and complemented their lack of cooking experience.

And with less than S$10,000, they successfully opened their shop after two months.

What I tried at Yugo Yakiniku 

Yugo Yakiniku - Wagyu Cube Don and Chicken Aburi Don

“You went to a yakiniku spot and got doburis instead?” First off, yes I did. Secondly, if I wanted to cook my own food, I’d cook my own food at home. Yugo Yakiniku has four Donburi options: Chicken Aburi Don (S$5.50), Beef Aburi Don (S$6.50), Karubi Don (S$8) and Wagyu Cube Don (S$9.50). 

Each order of donburi was served with an onsen egg and corn. Every meat that accompanies the rice bowl is glazed with their homemade special MSG-free sauce that’s meant to allow the natural sweetness of the meat to come through before being torched. 

Its Yakiniku options offer 12 variations of beef and chicken parts: Its most expensive items are the wagyu beef— wagyu striploin, wagyu cube, wagyu rump, while other more wallet-friendly beef options are available as well— beef short rib, karubi, angus striploin, beef bacon, kata rosu.

There are also locally-based flavoured proteins such as satay-flavoured chicken thigh, beef dendeng and chicken dendeng.

Yugo Yakiniku - Wagyu Cube Don

My first donburi was the Wagyu Cube Don. The egg was cooked to a runny form and it had a decent amount of wagyu cubes (or so I thought). I couldn’t resist the temptation to try a cube first, and what I got was a slightly off-putting sweet taste. I know the sauce was meant to release the natural sweetness of the meat but it tasted like candied beef, and I’m sure mother nature never meant that.

On its own, the sauce tasted like your usual teriyaki sauce. Unfortunately, the taste of wagyu beef got lost in the sauce.

I thought my second piece would sway my mind but what I got was a piece of literal beef fat. Normally, I would welcome this sudden change to blubber, but not when I’ve spent nearly S$10 on wagyu cubes. I counted three fatty pieces in my dish.

Yugo Yakiniku - Wagyu Cube Don

Moving forward, I had a really good time mixing the runny eggs with rice and corn. The corn added a refreshing burst of sweetness whilst the eggs gave it a creamy finish. There was some furikake seasoning at the centre of the bowl, which added a nice depth to the seasonless eggs and rice. I just wished there was more of it. 

Yugo Yakiniku - Chicken Aburi Don

Visually, the Chicken Aburi Don doesn’t look as appealing as the wagyu cubes, but it blew it out of the water taste-wise. I couldn’t taste the signature sauce (good news) but whatever flavours I got were from the seasonings used, which I thought consisted of the reliable pepper and salt. 

There was also a distinct torched taste which was missing from the wagyu cubes. Weirdly, the chicken was barely lukewarm despite the exciting flavours.

Yugo Yakiniku - Chicken Aburi Don

Because of the seasonings from the chicken, it elevated every aspect of the bowl. The flavours of the eggs and rice were more profound when intermixed with the chicken slices.

There were also plenty of proteins that were more than enough to keep the combination of corn, chicken and rice at every spoonful till I polished off the entire bowl.

Final thoughts 

Yugo Yakiniku - Wagyu Cube Don and Chicken Aburi Don

If you consider the fact that they aren’t trained professionals in the food and business industry and have only operated for less than 3 months, it’s a decent effort so far. There is definite room for improvement but I am confident their passion will drive them forward. 

I highly recommend the Chicken Aburi Don for its fillingness and wallet-friendly nature. It also managed to encapsulate the flavours from a yakiniku without the hassle and mess of grilling it by yourself.

Though, I would leave wagyu cubes at the demise of your own cooking.

Expected damage: S$5.50 – S$9.50 per pax

Other articles you might like:

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Free 50g premium pork at Yakiniku-GO, just act like a pig

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Yugo Yakiniku

Jurong West Street 42, Block 557, Singapore 640557

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Yugo Yakiniku

Jurong West Street 42, Block 557, Singapore 640557

Telephone: +65 8803 9628
Operating Hours: 11am — 10pm (Thu to Tue), Closed on Wed
Telephone: +65 8803 9628

Operating Hours: 11am — 10pm (Thu to Tue), Closed on Wed
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