Tony Johor Kaki Travels for Food · Heritage · Culture · History

Knowing its history makes food more delicious 🇸🇬 johorkaki@gmail

Shinn Sato Okinawa Cuisine @ Orchard Plaza

Shinn Sato @ Orchard Plaza is one of those kind of eating places their regulars don't want you to know about and the owners don't actively market themselves on social media. 

Yet they are doing fine for years, thank you ☺️

Luckily, I got friends who know 🤭

Restaurant name: Shinn Sato Okinawa Cuisine

Address: 150 Orchard Road, #03-52/53/54 Orchard Plaza, Singapore 238841

Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Somerset station

Tel: 6735 1883

Hours: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm | 5:30pm - 10:00 pm (Sun off)

Buddy has been talking about Shinn Sato for weeks already. Finally, we fixed a date to meet here.

It's on level 3 of Orchard Plaza. Orchard Plaza is like a plain Jane sister of the all those glitzy buildings along Orchard Road. This is the type of place where I like to hunt for good food.

Shinn Sato is a humble, homely, casual type of eatery.

Then, it has an adjacent bar. This one we will cover in the future 😁 🤭

Okinawa cuisine is unique to Japan's southernmost prefecture. It was at the crossroads between Japan, China and Southeast Asia trade.

Founded in 1429 as Ryukyu kingdom, it was a vassal state of the Ming dynasty of Imperial China until 1609 when it became a Japanese vassal state. 

So, as a result of its location and history, Okinawan cuisine inherited influences from Japan, China and Southeast Asia.

When I found the place, buddies were already enjoying these fried bitter gourd and bitter gourd beer 🍻

Thinly sliced, fried to a slight crisp and dry outside with still a bit of residual moistness inside. Probably seasoned with a bit of salt. Nice. I like it. Savoury, sweet, a trace of bitter taste.

Bitter gourd or goya is an Okinawan signature. Okinawa grows the best bitter gourd in Japan because of its tropical climate. Okinawans make many dishes with bitter gourd and even brew beer with it - we tried a few dishes and beer today.

Umibudo or Okinawan sea grapes. Served without any dressing and with a dish of ponzu (savoury tart dipping sauce).

The sea grapes have a light soft crunchy bite when the "grapes" pop. The liquid tastes gently briny. Dipping in the savoury sauce adds a savoury layer to the briny taste.

The house made Okinawan jimami or peanut tofu. Looks like burrata cheese but is tofu. It is tender firm, dense, smooth to the bite but turns creamy in the mouth. Like burrata in texture but is clean tasting, fresh and slightly sweet.

I love this.

Goya champuru.

Stir fried bitter gourd with pork and tofu. This is so homely, so home cooked. There's tofu cubes, pork slices, bitter gourd, onion, eggs and bonito flakes. The whole savoury sweet dish reminds me of my own family's dishes sans the bonito flakes.

The pork tastes like pork we had in 1960s / 70s Singapore. It has a certain distinct porcine sweetness which you can recognise, if you tasted 1960s Singapore pork before.

If the word "champuru" sounded familiar, that's because it was derived from the Malay word "campur" which means "to mix".

Asadashimaki Tamago. Seaweed egg roll.

I like this eggy roll a lot - soft and moist inside with delicate subtle vegetable and briny taste from the green seaweed rolled between the layers.

Simple deep fried fish (tempura). Crisp outside while inside it was moist and sweet.

Enjoyed it so much, I ate up the head, tail and everything in between. Crisp and sweet, that's perfect with sweet bitter gourd beer.

Okinawa soba noodle soup with chashu.

The house made wheat noodles were simply awesome. The strands were thick and flat. Al dente mouth feel like the Italian kind - tender firm with a chewy crunch.

The soup and soft tender chashu were perfect complements.

Rafute or Okinawan braised pork belly. This was like Dong Po Rou but the sauce was milder, well balanced savoury sweet, and the pork belly was so soft tender and smooth. I especially love the skin which melted in my mouth like warm jelly. It was richly infused with savoury sweet flavours from soy sauce and sugar too.

Pork lovers.

Get this.

Okinawan yakisoba.

Looks like a chup cai (mixed vegetables) but it is actually fried noodle smothered in a blanket of stir fried vegetables and pork slices.

Homely, heartwarming flavours and amazingly tasty.

Goya carbonara.

The Japanese have their own unique way of doing pasta, just like they do with curry and pizza.

The pasta (Okinawa soba) was done al dente but the nod to the Italians ends there 😅 The cheesy sauce was thick and creamy, and deep with robust umami savoury flavours. The fried bitter gourd topping added a bitter sweet layer and crunchiness to the al dente, creamy dish. 

We love it.

Meme: Italian forced to watch Americans put pineapple on pizza for the first time (source unknown)
Okinawans adding bitter gourd to "carbonara" spaghetti actually outdid Americans topping pizza with pineapple 😅🤭

Rounding up our delicious lunch with various flavours of Okinawan sea salted ice cream.

Shinn Sato is a good place to hangout and chill out with homely Okinawan comfort dishes prepared by experienced chefs from Okinawa islands in Japan.

This was my first time trying Okinawan cuisine and I have lots more to learn.

Disclaimer: I don't know the prices of the dishes as I didn't see the receipt. Buddy treated us 🙏

Written by Tony Boey on 1 Jun 2023

🎗 Opinions in this blog are all my own as no restaurant or stall paid money to be featured

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments submitted with genuine identities are published