Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Nanjya Monjya, Waterfront Plaza, Singapore

Having seen this place next to Nagae a couple of times, it was only a matter of time till I gave in to curiosity and check it out. With a hotplate at nearly every table, Nanjya Monjya does a fair bit of teppanyaki but the things to check out here are the okonomiyaki and monja-yaki.

We started off with a very refreshing cold and crunchy daikon (white radish) salad. I don't know why but I tasted traces of tuna in this or maybe they added in some bonito flakes. Nevertheless, this was a nice appetizer.

Since the salad basically made up the "health food" quota for the day, we ordered some cream croquettes as well.

These were really good. Crisp on the outside but extremely moist and creamy within, the croquettes here are as nice as the one's at Kazu.

Okonomiyaki or also loosely known as "Japanese pizza" or "Japanese pancake" is said to have been originated in the Kansai (Osaka) region although the Hiroshima region often claims to be the first to make it properly. The okonomiyaki here is done the more conventional (Osaka) style where everything is mixed together. The porkbelly slices were fried first with some garlic to bring out a fragrant aroma.

The sake here is served in these nifty bamboo containers which take forever to pour out a glass (cup?) haha (look at that tiny spout!). Maybe that's how they moderate drinking here.

By now the rest of the ingredients and batter matrix of the okonomiyaki are neatly sizzling away like an obese pancake.

The wagyu here is just decent enough to be wagyu. The sweet barbecue sauce pretty much killed any natural beef flavor in these thin slices.

Its texture was still tender and succulent and is best eaten medium rare. You may opt to do the cooking yourself or ask the staff for their assistance; they're cool either way.

By now the okonomiyaki has been flipped over to sear the other side.

Whilst it's still sizzling away, a generous dallop of okonomiyaki sauce (sweet miso sauce?) and mayonnaise is drizzled above.

A further generous sprinkle of bonito flakes finishes off the dish.

Here's our mixed seafood with pork and chicken okonomiyaki in all her splendor.

This was pretty good and sure it costs abit more than those which only cost about 1000yen each in Japan but once you factor in the airplane ticket, it isn't that bad really. For those who have not tried okonomiyaki before, if you like takoyaki (the next most similar Japanese dish I can think of, although they're not really that similar), I'm sure you'll appreciate this too.

Since the okonomiyaki was pretty fun, we decided to order a crispy ramen monja-yaki with bacon as well.

Monja-yaki which has her origins in Tokyo is almost like snack food and is very popular with kids. It's quite different to an okonomiyaki and this will be more apparent in the next few pictures.

More teppanyaki items, the gyu-tan here is good.

Thinly sliced, seasoned with just salt and pepper and fried with some garlic slices. I can never get enough of these tasty chewy morsels.

After the ingredients for the monja-yaki are fried for a while, a little space is made in the center and the starch (traditionally with yam stock) base in poured in to slowly sizzle-down and thicken.

I initially feared that the sweet miso sauce that came with the scallops and prawns would overpower the seafood but fortunately it was quite ok.

The high sugar content in the sweet miso sauce left a nice caramelized finish on the prawns and scallops and helped seal in the juices.

Once the stock has boiled down sufficiently in the monja-yaki, everything is mixed together and the remaining crispy ramen bits are poured above.

I have a weak spot for any form of fried squid and when I saw that they had deep-fried squid tentacles here, it soon ended up on my table and sooner ended up in my tummy.

Beef intestines have a nice crunchy chew. My only gripe was the sauce which was similar to the one with the wagyu and still way too sweet.

I didn't expect much of the fish from a teppanyaki/okonomiyaki joint but this grilled cod was pretty damn good. Cooked to perfection, the cod flesh flaked off very nicely and paired well with her accompanying teriyaki sauce.

By now, the monja-yaki is spread thinly for the final cooking phase where the bottom is starting to get pretty crisp.

We almost forgot that this was supposed to arrive as an appetizer but Japanese beancurd with cheese and mentaiko is most welcomed at any point in the meal. What a combo, salty cheese and the slightly spicy mentaiko with each fish egg bursting with flavor, blending in nicely with the silky-soft and bland beancurd. This is definitely going to be ordered again when I'm back.

Monja-yaki is eaten directly from the hotplate with little spatulas. It's quite fun really (which explains its popularity with children), this dish is cooked with a big spatula and eaten with a mini spatula. Although, at the end of it, I still prefer okonomiyaki over monja-yaki.

Big spatula versus small spatula. Does size really matter?



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Wow, how much did this meal cost? The pics looks most yummy.

Did you just go to Buono Pizza Bar as Salvo told me a friend of mine had just left when I arrived :P

We had a special order of chilli and pepper crabs and wow, I think the best chilli and pepper I've had ever. Even my elder bro who never goes for pepper had more pepper crab than me!

D said...

anon: er.. yes...

cindy: The meal cost about 250sgd not including alcohol. Nope, I wasn't at Buono Pizza Bar =P but a pizza bar that serves the best chilli and pepper crabs? Wow, now I've heard everything.

Anonymous said...

Hi D,

250 bucks for 2? Seems quite reasonable to me if the food is good. Anyway just for my own curiousity, may I know what you do for a living =)Its ok if you dont answer anyway

dancing fan

D said...

dancing fan: I don't think some of the pricier items like the wagyu, prawns and scallops were worth ordering though. They weren't bad, but just not good enough to justify their price-tag. This meal fed four actually, so with a budget of about 50-60per pax (excluding alcohol), I think you can be very well fed indeed.

Lord Dianabol said...

Mate, it's looking orrsome from this end!

Unknown said...

Yummo ...!!!

Why am I stuck here? Look at what you're having over there!!!!!!!! It's unjust!

There's a Palmerston Friday night market in my area tonight but the excitement has paled, petered out more like, after "watching" you eat ...

D said...

Well food was one of the reasons why I decided to return to Asia to work. Ok, I lied, it's pretty much the ONLY reason haha.

Camemberu said...

Strangely, I miss Okonomiyaki!! Want to go back to Japan...but I guess I should try this joint since it's A LOT nearer...hehe.

The Pseudo Designer said...

hi there....do you think you could tell me the average price of just okonomiyaki? thank you!