Fans of Japanese food will know about the Ramen Champion fleet of eateries on level four of the Bugis+ shopping centre in Singapore, but the most special dish is the Singapore Chilli Crab tendon at Don Meijin. Don Meijin specialises in donburi, which are rice bowls with meat, fish or vegetables. Tendon is a type of donburi that consists of tempura with rice. Don Meijin have put a Singapore spin on this classic Japanese dish with its Chilli Crab version and I had heard a lot of hype about it so just had to try it for myself. It did not disappoint!
Flossie’s rating: ★★★★
I ordered the Singapore Chilli Crab tendon as a set. It came served in two stacked bowls with tempura prawns, eggplant, asparagus, fish and kakiage (shredded mixed vegetables), Singapore Chilli Crab mix, a side of wasabi and crispy garnish, and a teapot of salty soup. The presentation was mouth watering but I was unsure of how to eat it correctly and needed to ask the chef for advice.
The second bowl on the tendon stack is used to scoop the rice into and mix with the soup. I have never eaten rice with soup before but it actually served as a refreshing yet salty palette cleanser between bites of tempura and it gave some moisture to an otherwise dry dish. At first I used the dish of Singapore Chilli Crab as a dip for my tempura, before deciding to copy the other diners and pour the entire contents into my main bowl.
The tempura batter was light and crispy and the quality of seafood and vegetables were exceptionally fresh and plump by Singapore standards. I had just as much fun working out how to eat my intricately designed dish as I had savoring the Singapore Chilli Crab flavour and slurping my rice soup.
I was so satisfied with my meal that I visited Don Meijin again to sample something else from their menu. On my second visit, I ordered the Jumbo Chicken Katsu Don on special.
It was served a large bowl of rice with a very large fillet of breaded and deep fried chicken drizzled with a pinkish brown sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Taken on its own, the chicken fillet was actually very good. Although obviously unhealthy and full of calories, it was the perfect combination of crunchy and juicy. However the meal as a whole was very dry and hard to eat. There was hardly any sauce so I was essentially eating the fried chicken between mouthfuls of dry boiled rice. I tried adding something generically labelled “tendon sauce” that was available at the counter, and was akin to a dark soy. It helped to make the rice more edible but it did not complement the chicken particularly well as it was too strong in flavour. I could have benefited from a pot of that salty soup to pour on the rice had it been on offer with this dish.
The delicious Singapore Chilli Crab tendon at Don Meijin is something special and unusual. I really enjoyed my meal. If you are a fan of tendon in general, Don Meijin also have more classic menu options. However I would stay away from the Jumbo Chicken Katsu Don.
Ramen Champion Bugis+
201 Victoria Street, #04-10