Review: Sangokai Japanese Restaurant – fresh with plenty of paleo options

Japanese food is great for paleo eating and healthy meals in general. You can get fresh raw fish and raw beef untouched by any strange sugary sauce. You can get miso soup and green tea. The food in general is light, provided you don’t go straight for the tempura!

Last Friday, I was craving for something light so I made a dinner reservation at Sangokai Japanese Restaurant on Beach Road. The restaurant was cosy, looked very authentic and was pretty much a hole-in-the-wall along the main road.

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I went crazy ordering the appetisers. There was such a wide range and I wanted to try them all. We started with seared maguro in miso sauce ($16).

Maguro miso

The miso sauce was very light and you can barely taste it, which is the way I like my food. I like to be able to taste the freshness of my fish. The maguro didn’t disappoint. Each slice was thick and juicy.

We then followed up with a three-fish sashimi dish ($28), which was made up of salmon, tuna and yellowtail fish.

sashimi

I had read lots of good things about the sashimi here, which is flown into Singapore daily so it’s very fresh. The slices were thick and succulent! I just thought that the portion was way too small for $28-worth of sashimi.

We were still very hungry and decided to order the maguro natto ($9.50). It was my first time trying natto and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, I thought I would really enjoy it because I like beans in general.

Maguro natto

It turned out really horrible for me. Natto – which is made from fermented soybeans – tends to be very slimy. I didn’t smell anything pungent but the texture was enough to put me off. When I tried to pick up a few beans, it would separate from the rest of the pack with an almost alien-like stringy slime. My dinner companion, on the other hand, had eaten natto before and fully expected the texture. He said it was very good natto so I’d have to take his word for it.

I was grumpy that I couldn’t eat this dish so I went for something safe next. It was chanwanmushi ($5.50).

Chawanmushi

I was glad not to taste anything unusual. This was a solid basic steamed egg with chicken and mushrooms.

We were finally ready for the main courses. We naturally didn’t go for any of the rice or noodles. Instead, we ate more fish. First up, we had sake shioyaki ($12.50), which means salt-grilled salmon.

salt grilled salmon

This way of cooking creates a crispy skin. This was my first time having salmon cooked this way and I really liked it. I’ve only had salmon raw, poached or grilled with some teriyaki sauce. This was a clean-tasting salmon with a crunchy skin. All it takes is fish, salt and some oil. Simple, healthy and yummy!

Our second cooked fish was shima hokke ($16), which is a type of mackerel. Unlike my salmon, this was less dry and tasted slightly oilier.

shima hokke

What I really liked about this was the softness of the flesh. It reminded me somewhat of cod fish and the texture was a good contrast from the salmon.

We were so stuffed after all that food. It wasn’t terribly cheap of course, given that we were dining in a restaurant, but the quality of the food was excellent. I also liked that there was enough non-rice and non-noodle dishes to keep me happy. It would be quite difficult if the restaurant was dominated by ramen or deep fried pork with rice.

Do check out Sangokai Restaurant if you’re in the mood for some healthy Japanese. You can check out their menu here.

Sangokai Restaurant

327 Beach Road

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