Cheap Japanese food is mostly never good, while good Japanese food is hardly ever cheap.
But Japanese Curry Express defies the norm, especially with its Mentai Don ($10).
This dish comes with fresh slices of torched salmon over Japanese rice, topped with a generous dollop of mentaiko sauce.
For someone who loves a spicy kick with every meal, I appreciate the liberal dusting of chilli flakes over the dish. It balances out the creamy sauce, which is made by the chefs every few days.
As I devour the Mentai Don and see the bowl empty quickly, I regret not upsizing my order - it costs an additional $3 for a bigger bowl - so that I can savour more of the delicious flavours.
I order the Pork Katsu Curry Rice ($7), only to see if it has any merit, given that the eatery touts Japanese curry in its name.
JAPANESE CURRY EXPRESS
03-04 Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Road, tel: 9689-6314, open: 11.30am to 3pm, 4.30pm to 8.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
However, I have to admit that I am not the right person to judge Japanese curry. Often, it is too sweet for my liking and I am put off by its pale shade.
The dish, complete with slices of fried pork, arrives piping hot.
I enjoy the meat - it is evenly breaded and fried well - but as expected, I am not a fan.
Still, there is much to like about Japanese Curry Express, which was opened in 2014 by two friends who used to work at a Japanese eatery.
The menu is extensive, with 48 items, including Ebi Fry Curry Rice ($7) and Char Siew Ramen ($7).
Also, many of the dishes are under $10, which is value for money. You can order a few items to share without inflating the bill too much.
I enjoy the Spicy Tuna Salad ($7), which comes in a much bigger portion than I expect. The fresh cold cucumber, served with the tuna, has a good crunch and balances the spiciness.
Co-owner Valen Khoo, 38, says he provides a generous serving as some of his customers do not eat rice at lunch. This is a filling option for them.
Beyond the food, a part of Japanese Curry Express' charm is its location. Parked amid a hodgepodge of businesses such as beauty salons and shops selling religious artefacts, the Japanese eatery is truly a hole-in-the-wall find.
The place already has its fans, so expect to wait for a table, especially during lunchtime. But do not worry - the line moves fast as many people eat quickly and leave.