Last week, one of my colleagues suggested we go try for ourselves the Japanese stall at Commonwealth Crescent Market. Said to be opened by a chef that had worked in a Japanese restaurant. We wanted to see for ourselves, the beautifully presented dishes with a low low price.
A very simple looking stall with menu of the dishes they sell covering most of the front of the stall. The 6 of us joined 3 other customers in the queue. We ordered different things and we were rather impressed by the food and the presentation.
3 colleagues ordered the Smoked Chicken which is a half a deboned spring chicken that has been smoked with Apple Wood. Oh it does look very good. Presentation wise, it was served on a wooden board with cherry tomatoes and lotus root chips. The chicken was sprinkled with balsamic teriyaki sauce. The 3 colleagues had already devoured half of it when I finally got my order. It comes with a bowl of rice and a daikon tofu salad. Only $7.50. A note from one of the colleague who had it, it’s smoked chicken so some folks might think it’s not cooked. (It’s safe to eat, it’s cooked. Think Smoked Salmon. If you can’t’ swallow smoked food, order something else).
I did not take photos of the other dishes that colleague ate, they already ate half of it. Too good to wait. 😉 This was the shredded daikon and tofu salad that comes with all the sets. Light, cold and appetizing!
Another colleague ordered the Tori Nanban. Boneless chicken thigh that had been coated with flour and egg and deep fried. Dunked into Nanban sauce. Nanban sauce is a spicy, vinegarish, sweetish sauce. Makes you hungrier as you eat it kind of sauce? Also served with lotus root chips, daikon tofu and rice. Cheaper at $6.00. The colleague said it had a very satisfying feeling after eating it. Something crispy and yet tasty and visually appealing.
Another colleague and I had Chicken Roulade. Roulade is French for roll. It’s flattened Chicken thigh meat that is rolled with a centre of minced chicken thigh meat that has been mixed with leek, sisho and egg yolk. It’s then steamed so that it looks like a roulade. I was observing the chef as he was preparing my dish.
He took off the chicken roulade off the wrapper and then he took out his blow torch. He fired the chicken roll till it looks so nice and brown and crispy looking. The torched roll is then put above a bowl of somen that’s inside a wooden bowl filled with chicken broth that has been double boiled with pumpkin. Took the photo above with my phone.
Another view to show you the stuffing. It was very tender because it was steamed first. The torching of the outer chicken skin does makes it look so good!
You got to eat the somen quite immediately if you don’t want noodles that are too soft. It is a slighty sweetish broth, so if you don’t like sweetish broth you will complain it’s too sweet. I like it though. It’s not like pumpkin soup, but more like chicken soup with a hint of pumpkin fragrance and sweetness. I love how it comes in a nice round wooden bowl. It also comes with a daikon tofu salad. The price $5!
It’s food that you would expect from a Japanese restaurant and not a hawker centre. Probably because it’s in a hawker centre that the price is so good. Worth a try!
There are many hawkers that serve non traditional hawker food with the hawker kind of price but without the ‘wow’ presentation. This stall sells food at ‘hawker’ prices plus ‘wow’ presentation as well.
The chef does take his own time to nicely plate his dishes, so be prepared to wait for your food. If a few person behind you orders the same dish as the person in front of you, he prepares the orders together, so yours order might come later.
Coocci Contemporary Japanese
Commonwealth Crescent Market
118 Commonwealth Crescent
Hours: 12-3 pm, 6-9 pm
Closed on Mondays.