Sen Sen Sushi
Sushi in a supemarket
You know how you sometimes want a quick sushi meal and go to the supermarket to pick up a tray of nigiri sushi or maki? I am always conflicted. The trays of maki are often too much for me to finish in one sitting, and they do not keep. And there are always a couple of sushi on the tray I am not wild about.
Don Don Donki is fixing this problem at Sen Sen, located in its recently opened Jurong Point store. You can order the nigiri sushi you want and it is made for you on the spot. In the interest of speed, the balls of rice are machine made, but the fish is sliced to order.
This is not terribly different from trays of pre-made sushi, I hear you say. But wait. The menu has many items that are not part of the deli selection.
There is the terrific gunkan sushi filled with murasaki uni ($12), which is now in season. It has more character than sweet bafun and that whisper of funk at the end is marvellous. Two good shellfish options are tsubugai and hokkigai ($2 each), both sweet and springy.
Aburi salmon is the best-selling sushi at Donki and, yes, the Aburi Mentai Mayo Salmon ($2) is good. I especially love that lick of chilli oil that brings it to life.
Sen Sen offers other kinds of torched sushi too. The best one is Aburi Wagyu Beef ($6) topped with chopped negi. Aburi Anago ($4) is luxurious – the seawater eel fillet is draped languorously over a ball of rice, hiding it completely.
Sen Sen’s shari is made with Koshiibuki rice from Niigata Prefecture, and seasoned with a blend of two types of red vinegar.
The Japanese chain has Sen Sen in Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong too, but those are standalone restaurants.
I think Singapore cannot have enough well-priced sushi restaurants. This one is a good start, but it is very no-frills – no drinks (unless the customer buys it from the store), and no miso soup and other accoutrements. May they soon be available.
Where: Don Don Donki, B1-09 Jurong Point
MRT: Boon Lay
Open: Sen Sen is open from 11am to 9pm daily, the supermarket is open from 9am to 11pm daily
The Lunar Rabbit Boulangerie
Croissants are named for their crescent shape and how does anyone improve on a well-made one? Well, you come up with a pastry that actually looks like the crescent moon.
Pastry chef Elaine Seah of The Lunar Rabbit Boulangerie is selling The Lunar ($6.80) and it fits in perfectly with her brand. Her shop name, after all, has the moon front and centre. The first iteration of what will surely be the patisserie’s signature pastry is filled with cool mascarpone mousse and ganache made with dark Valrhona chocolate.
Bite off the ends first – they are the best. Buttery, light and crisp, and with just the right amount of salt. Then attack the rest of it. That cool mousse does not overwhelm the deep, dark flavour of the chocolate. Sweetness is held in check.
That and a black coffee are perfect for breakfast. But because it is Christmas, I have a seasonal hot Mint Mocha ($6.80). I am relieved to report that it is not cloyingly sweet like Christmas drinks at that big coffee chain.
After wolfing down my pastry, I am still hungry. Please, chef, can you make a savoury Lunar?
She is working on it.
Where: 01-02, 16 Hamilton Road
Open: 8.30am to 5pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays
Info: Call 8188-0102
Milk Bar Ice Cream
A taste of New York
American pastry chef Christina Tosi’s bakery business, Milk Bar, has grown and grown since its beginnings as part of the Momofuku empire. So much so that her ice cream is now available at FairPrice supermarkets. Well, four flavours from the range, at least.
Thankfully, Cereal Milk ($14.95 for a 414ml tub, but until Dec 31, it is $13.95 a tub) is one of them.
When I was last in New York, in 2020, I had made a beeline for Milk Bar’s flagship store in Broadway and the Cereal Milk Soft Serve was the best thing I had there. The cookies and cakes are scarily and unrelentingly sweet, but I find the sweet-salty balance of the soft serve to be perfect.
It translates well to ice cream too. Don’t believe the words on the tub – the cornflakes are no longer crunchy, but that is their charm. Anyone who loves a soggy ice cream cone, or, indeed, the soggy cereal at the bottom of the bowl, will know what I am talking about.
The other flavour worth the calories is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Crunch. I am a sucker for anything peanut butter and the saltiness balances out the sweetness very admirably. It is also the most calorific, at 430 calories for a 130g serving, compared with 270 calories for 107g of the Cereal Milk.
Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow and Pie (vanilla ice cream with butter filling and toasted oat crust) suffer from a surfeit of sweetness. You have been warned.
Where: FairPrice Finest supermarkets except the ones at 202 Hougang Street 21, Jewel Changi Airport, Holland Village, myVillage and Changi City Point