Japanese is tops on my list

Published August 26, 2022, 12:47 PM

by Sandy Daza

Japanese cuisine when prepared properly is top on my list. Hugely reliant on the freshness of ingredients, I love being surprised with new and untried dishes. I trust the cuisine so much, I’m willing to try anything they put in front of me. 

I’m not a fan of fusion cuisine. Many of the Michelin-starred restaurants I’ve tried, especially the ones in Spain, had superb food but I don’t remember any of it. Personally, I still like straightforward traditional food. I’m guessing it’s because I enjoy trying other versions and comparing them. 

A few weeks back, we were invited to an outstanding dinner done by powerhouse chef couple Pía León and Virgilio Martínez, a husband-and-wife team from Peru, whose Michelin-starred restaurant Central, considered fourth best in the world, has been on top of Latin America’s 50 Best since 2013 until last year. They were in Singapore for a popup and the theme of the dinner I joined was cuisine from the bottom up. It was an 11-course meal, featuring ingredients from under the sea to ingredients that can be found high above in the mountains. Complete with wine pairing, the meal certainly was most enjoyable, one of the best meals I have tried. 

The author (right) with his son Arturo

But a week before that, another invite came my way but this time at a fine dining Japanese restaurant called Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands, also in Singapore. My friend is a true-blooded foodie and knows where to find outstanding food. I was extremely excited because my son Arturo was with me. Many times in Japan, when I experience great food, I get mixed feelings about enjoying the meal. I always wish my kids were with me to experience what I do. One child, pwede na.

It was an 11-course Omakase meal. Omakase is a type of meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef. Even the sake was especially made by a brewery from Japan for the Japanese chef. It was very smooth and mild-tasting, almost like a light fruit juice, but it had to be the best I had ever had. We were served Alaskan king crab with mountain caviar, bonito tataki with orange and soy caramel, marinated shrimp with sea urchin and caviar, kinmedai, nodogoro, and otoro tuna sashimi, chilled capelli pasta with black truffle and caviar, grilled shrimp with herb infused extra virgin olive oil, amadai uroko yaki with maitake mushrooms and mizuna greens, pan-seared Tasmanian abalone with caviar and dashi butter, Kinki set on rice, Ohmi Wagyu tenderloin with fresh wasabi and citrus soy, marinated snapper with Japanese style porridge, Japanese peach with raspberry and lychee Granita, and two wonderful desserts. 

Japanese peach with raspberry and lychee granita

We were in a private room with the view of the bay where they have the light show of Marina Bay Sands. Each and every item was extremely fresh, unique, and most delicious. It was one of my best meals in my life. At its helm is Japanese-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda. My thought bubble was to open his brain and see how he created all these dishes without venturing into fusion. 

Waku Ghin is at the Marina Bay Sands and I would say it is an experience of a lifetime. I was so happy that my son Turo was having a great time while also experiencing such a meal. A meal like this, I will never forget. The sake was on a whole new level. Outstanding!

It’s sealed—Japanese is tops on my list!

Waku Ghin is at L2-03, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Bar/Bar Dining is open daily from 5 p.m., so is the Chef,s Table but from 5.30 p.m. Last order for alcohol is at 10 pm. while last order for food is at 10.45 p.m. +65 6688 8507

Happy eating!