Cheap and good food does not always mean sinful unhealthy food. You can get healthy delicious food at a reasonable price in a comfortable sit down restaurant in Orchard Road, Singapore. One of our favourite places in the Orchard Road area when we like a simple meal is Yonehachi. Located in the basement food hall of Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, it specializes in Okowa（おこわ), a Japanese glutinous rice dish. The prices start from as low as $6.80 for a Red Bean Okowa with Miso Soup Set.
Okowa has a long history in Japan. Okowa is basically steamed glutinous rice mixed with different interesting ingredients such as red beans, chestnuts or seafood. Yonehachi has more than 140 Okowa shops in Japan. Yonehachi in Takashimaya, Singapore is essentially a takeaway counter with a few tables for about 30 dine-in patrons. There is a small food preparation area and the Japanese rice is steamed right in the store.
The store has a system where you queue to order and pay at the counter whether you are dining in or taking away. If you are dining-in, after you have paid, you will be ushered to a table. The food will be served.
Yonehachi has a menu that seems fairly simple but which allows for interesting mix and match. The normal offering is 4 types of Okowa – red bean, chestnut, salmon and scallop. It also has seasonal specials like Asari Okowa which is steamed with clams, ginger and shredded kelp; Mentai Bamboo Okowa with cod roe and Yamaya bamboo shoots; and even a Hotate Curry Okowa with curry-spiced scallops and kidney beans.
The sticky rice steamed with the various ingredients is so delicious you can just order the rice and eat it on its own. You can buy a 200 gram Okowa for takeaway at $7.80. A basic Red Bean Okowa with Miso Soup Set for $6.80 will be a satisfying and nutritious meal. Top up $1 and you can have a mix of 2 types of Okowa. There also have various sets with chicken or fish to go with the rice. Soba, simmered vegetables, sauteed french beans and other a la carte side dishes are also available.
We ordered a Salmon Okowa Set Meal ($13.80) with a mixed of chestnut and red bean okowa. The set meal came with miso soup, salmon, fried chicken as well as several other side dishes. We also ordered a Chicken Teriyaki Set with red bean okowa ($12.80) which also came with soup, pickles and salad.
The food was served after waiting for about ten minutes. The rice was fragrant and soft and not too sticky. It was flavourful and each mouthful was enjoyable. The mains and side dishes were all good and complimented the rice nicely. The miso soup was thick and tasty. The fried chicken was well fried and not too oily and simply delectable. We enjoyed our meal very much.
The meal was simple and the portion was about just right. You feel satisfied but not bloated. The food was neither salty nor oily. By adding some vegetables and protein to the simple rice dish, Okowa becomes a light but complete and nutritious meal. We think that Yonehachi’s prices for the delicious food are very reasonable. When we think of having a light, healthy and delicious meal, Yonehachi will be among the top of our list.
Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City
391 Orchard Road, #B204-1/2
Tel: +65 6333 8227
Opening Hours: 10 am – 9 pm
Nearby MRT Stations: Somerset, Orchard