Mentaiko is one of those guaranteed crowd-pleasers in Japanese cooking. After all, who doesn’t love a blanket of creamy, umami goodness layered generously on their rice bowls?
With five branches scattered across Singapore, Mentai-Ya Japanese Cuisine is serving up this thicc Japanese-style cod roe sauce for customers in heartland areas like Tampines and Bukit Panjang.
Mentai-Ya’s offerings are priced higher than average hawker fare but, are still slightly cheaper than most Japanese eateries. Good news if you’re craving quality Japanese cooking that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. Aside from rice bowls, you can also find various Japanese-style side dishes such as Gyoza and Mentai Soft Shell Crab.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with ten types of rice bowls to choose from, though it’s a shame you can’t mix and match proteins with your choice of sauce. The Salmon Mentai Don ($9.80) serves up a gloriously thick slice of salmon on top of rice drizzled with a pleasantly sweet sauce.
The spicy mentaiko carries a rather potent spice kick, which tingles your tastebuds but not to the point where you’ll find yourself reaching for water. The salmon itself is fresh and tender, with the meat breaking apart easily as I dug in.
While mentaiko is the name of the game, you can still find a selection of rice bowls and side dishes that are served without this eponymous sauce. The Tamago Yaki ($4) is soft and fluffy, with its sweet notes making it an ideal accompaniment to the rich and spicy main dish.
I’m often skeptical about self-proclaimed “Japanese” hawker stalls. Thankfully, Mentai-Ya’s reasonably-priced offerings are up to par. With luck, they might open in a neighbourhood near you soon!
Address: 602B Tampines Avenue 9, 01-01, Stall 5, Singapore 522602
Nearest MRT: Tampines EW2/ DT32
Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm, 5pm – 8.30pm daily
Contact: +65 8188 8628/ email@example.com