In October 2022, Japan finally lifted its border restrictions. This news delighted many as Singaporeans have ranked Japan as one of their most preferred countries to visit post-covid-19 pandemic, and this fact is not surprising.
One of the main reasons for this is Singaporeans' undying love for Japanese cuisine. Japanese cuisine emphasises cooking precision, intricate preparation and the delivery of quality dishes through fresh (and sometimes unique) ingredients.
It is also widely appreciated in Singapore due to its exquisite, adventurous and experimental taste palate. The widespread popularity of Japanese cuisine in Singapore is evident in the city's abundance of sushi, ramen, yakiniku, shabu-shabu, and Omakase restaurants.
Those looking to satisfy their cravings for Japanese cuisine without breaking the bank can take up a sushi-making or Japanese cuisine cooking class in Singapore. If you're looking to pamper yourself and splurge, consider treating yourself to Omakase dining, a menu-less meal consisting of quality dishes such as sushi and sashimi curated by the chef.
The popularity of Omakase lies in its offering of seasonal fresh ingredients, the element of surprise, and its intimate setting, thereby engaging all of your senses to create an exclusive, immersive and memorable dining experience.
Here are a few different types of sushi you may find in Omakase meals – recognise them to elevate your dining experience!
Maki sushi, also known as rolled sushi, is the world’s most popular type of sushi. It is a tasty roll consisting of vinegared rice and fillings such as fish, vegetables and eggs, wrapped in nori (seaweed) using a bamboo mat and cut up evenly with a sharp knife.
The most popular type of maki sushi is the Futomaki roll, which is a thicker roll consisting of several ingredients instead of only one ingredient.
A delicious combination of textures and flavours, such as ocean-fresh raw fish, pickled radish, cucumber, avocado and fish roe, are rolled together to create a crunchy yet creamy texture that hits all the right spots.
Nigiri sushi is made with a mound of vinegared rice topped with a thin slice of raw fish or specialty seafood. The fish or seafood topping used in the Nigiri sushi is typically fresh and flavorful, balancing with the well-seasoned and slightly acidic sushi rice.
It can be enjoyed with condiments such as Japanese soy sauce, wasabi or pickled ginger.
Traditionally handmade by skilled sushi chefs, Nigiri sushi is a simple yet intricate sushi with a perfect balance of flavours. The artistry involved in the presentation by the chef can greatly enhance your enjoyment of this dish.
Translating to the “Japanese warship sushi”, Gunkan sushi is named due to its resemblance in shape to a Japanese battleship. It is made of vinegared rice moulded by hand and wrapped in nori.
Extra height is intentionally created between the rice and top nori layer to accommodate a generous portion of toppings, such as sea urchin roe, Ikura (salmon roe), Mentaiko (pollock roe), tuna belly, mayonnaise corn or Goma Wakame (seaweed salad).
Gunkan sushi is a crowd favourite due to its varied and interesting toppings, which makes it a visually appealing dish.
Uramaki sushi, better known as “inside-out rolls”, is a type of sushi where the rice is placed as the outer-most layer with nori and the other ingredients rolled up on the inside.
Toppings such as sesame seeds, Tobiko (flying fish roe) or Shichimi Togarashi (seven-flavoured spice) are usually sprinkled on the sushi.
Sushi chefs often get creative with their Uramaki sushi rolls, adding fillings such as shrimp tempura, cream cheese, or thin slices of sashimi to create contrasts in taste and texture.
Temaki sushi, also known as “handroll sushi”, is made by rolling the rice, ingredients and nori sheet into a cone shape, similar to an ice cream cone.
In a casual Japanese restaurant, the fillings in Temaki sushi are pretty much like other sushi types.
However, in Omakase dining, you may find more unique ingredients, such as Kinmedai Aburi (golden-eye snapper) or Nodoguro (black throat seaperch), added to increase the savoury umami factor.
Omakase is a unique dining experience that combines the visual and gastronomic elements of Japanese cuisine. It is elevated by the opportunity to watch the skilled techniques of Japanese chefs as they expertly shape their culinary creations in front of you.
Becoming the head sushi chef at an Omakase restaurant requires at least ten years of professional training. These chefs must master knife skills, have a thorough understanding of ingredient selection and combination, and be able to cater to the diverse tastes of their customers.
If you are a Japanese cuisine enthusiast in Singapore, learning to make delicious sushi is not tricky. An excellent way to start is by taking sushi-making classes to prepare your very own favourite sushi dishes!