Japanese food makes me feel particularly good
Despite being a cosmopolitan city, getting quality yet affordable Japanese food is not as easy as you think; either it costs you an arm and a leg, or it feels like a monkey with a spoon can do a better job.
Ming San (鳴 San) Casual Japanese Dining
Ming San, after their eponymous owner, sits just about at the edge of the Chinatown area. To get there, one way is to take a short walk through Pearl’s Hill City Park, and it’s not a uphill task at all! Geddit? <Insert corny punchline here>
(From here on, I will interchangeably refer to both the restaurant and the owner as “Ming San”)
The restaurant was the brain-child of Ming San, and was realised just in September 2015. Serving food in a casual, modern style, the interior does look proper with natural light flooding in from the full length windows and no-nonsense wooden furniture. Generally, the crowd consist of OLs and very often he also gets Japanese customers working in the area coming for dinner!
Ming San serves up a plethora of Japanese cuisine from his humble kitchen (just behind the wall of mouth-watering photos). From bento sets to sushi platters, you definitely will be spoilt for choice.
Speaking of which, when he first started the restaurant, the bento sets were initially a fixed selection of less than a dozen choices. However, this often lead to much confusion for Ming San as he has to entertain countless requests to customise the sets to suit each customer’s palate. So, to make sure everyone leaves Ming San a happy pup, he introduced the mix & match concept menu for his bento sets which are now a hit with his customers:
So instead of just under 10 sets, you can have different permutations of dishes to make up your bento with the 20 (wow!) items available. All for just $10! Ming San also told me that more selections will be added soon, and the menu will be updated from time to time to keep his customers interested.
Although Ming San says that Sushi is not his forte, he does serve up some respectable hand-kneaded goodness, like his signature salmon aburi available as a nigiri sushi or in a maki roll. The nigiri sushi, topped generously with crystal seaweed and roe, has a full-bodied flavor, where the freshness of the fish is locked in by the aburi sear.
However, I felt that the ramen broth was too complex for me, as it is heavily loaded with tastes of shrimp and tonkotsu all jumbled up together. Personally, I prefer lighter and clearer broths, but you can see if this adaptation floats your boat. As the broth is now prepared by Ming San’s eldest daughter, it’s definitely worth encouraging her as she continues to experiment and find that signature Ming San ramen taste! がんばって!
Tucked in the corner unit of a office building right at the edge of chinatown, it’s definitely off the beaten track. If not for me knowing that it is near a popular dimsum restaurant nearby, I would have much more trouble locating it the first time around!
Ming San prides himself for being able to give decent, quality food at affordable prices. You pay for what you get, but what you pay is worth the buck!
The sushi, salad (not pictured) and bento sets especially were freshly made and flavourful, making the food a good hearty lunch for one, or a cosy dinner with your friends after a long day of salaryman work. However, I personally feel the ramen broth could use more fine-tuning.
To Ming San, his restaurant is more than just a place of sustenance. To him, eating should be casual, enjoyable and most importantly, in good company of your family and closest friends!
Ming San Casual Japanese Dining
171 Chin Swee Road
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Open for lunch ONLY on Wednesdays
Tel: 6386 9311
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mingsan0103/
Note: Call in advance and check their facebook page to avoid disappointment, as they are occasionally closed for private bookings/events. Catering menu is also available on request!