Tampopo has six successful outlets in Singapore revolutionising Japanese dishes in our neighbouring country, with two pastry shops Dulcet & Studio being the perfect place to enjoy a lazy afternoon tea.
For the first time, the two concepts have been married in one space to create Tampopo Delicieux. Tampopo has been voted by 200,000 people as the Best Japanese Restaurant in Singapore by the Asia One People’s Choice Awards 2016, ensuring a delightful meal for all patrons. Following the success of SkyAvenue, the first Malaysian outlet of Tampopo, they also opened up a second outlet at KLIA2 which features a ‘Grab & Go’ concept. The restaurant, just a stone’s throw away from the indoor theme park Skytropolis Funland, is decked in hues of Tiffany blue with wooden beams, fitted with modern chandeliers of bright transparent bulbs.
Despite the success of his restaurants, Takaaki Takagi, the Managing Director of Creative Food Concept Pte Ltd., the company behind Tampopo is still heavily involved in the business, training his chefs personally almost 365 days in a year, except when he is in Japan sourcing ingredients. He said, “We are one of the few truly authentic Japanese restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore. For me, before opening a restaurant, three principles are imperative: authenticity, choosing the best ingredients and having an affordable price. I am not worried about people duplicating recipes as I believe that simply following recipes do not make the taste.”
Born in Gifu, Japan, Takagi has had a long history of being in the food business. This extends to his family, who has run a Japanese rice wine or ‘sake’ company in Japan for more than 300 years, a business now run by his sister. He moved from Japan to Singapore at a relatively young age of 25, venturing into the beverage industry under the brand Pokka. He struck lucky despite actually having a background in Law as his recipes were self-taught with no actual formal training. Since then, Takagi-san, as he is known, has expanded his business into a small empire. He has also earned himself the moniker ‘Father of Tonkatsu’ as he realised the potential of tonkatsu and was the first to popularise it outside of his home country.
Tonkatsu usually consists of a breaded deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. To cater to Malaysians, the version served in the Tampopo outlet in SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting is the Chicken Katsu. Takagi proudly explains that instead of using locally sourced products, he painstakingly imports most of his ingredients from Japan as a challenge to himself to recreate the taste found in his native country. This is especially important for the katsu batter as the Japanese variant is known as being the best in the world because it is 30% less oily, a fact appreciated by his customers as the outer layer of the tender chicken is crunchy without having the usual oily texture. For the calorie conscious, this version excludes cheese whilst maintaining its juiciness. To maintain this consistency, Takagi actually created a tonkatsu machine to churn out perfect versions of the ‘low-calorie’ tonkatsu for every serving.
For Malaysians and Singaporeans, Ramen is now a staple dish in every Japanese restaurant. However, Takagi can also be credited with bringing over the beloved Japanese fare over to local shores. Not many restaurants can claim this, but the broth of the ramen soup is actually flown over on aeroplanes to arrive directly in Malaysia rather than being made in-house or by local suppliers. Whilst most items of the menu are made in ‘Tokyo style’, the ‘dashi’ or broth is a combined version of Hokkaido and Kyushu recipes as Takagi deems the Tokyo version too simple for local palates. For food aficionados who love fiery flavours in their food, their Spicy Chicken Katsu Ramen is a must-try on the menu. Their soup is light, topped with finely shredded cabbage, spring onions and chilli flakes served with chicken katsu. For those who like to keep things simple, their Chicken Chashu Ramen similarly doesn’t weigh heavily on taste buds but is rather flavourful, topped off with springy noodles, soft bamboo shoots, and well-marinated chicken.
Tampopo offers a wide selection from mouth-watering basics to more premium dishes. Their ‘Don’ menu, literally meaning ‘bowl’ has rice bowl dishes such as Chicken Teriyaki Soboro Don, served with both ground chicken and finely scrambled egg. Their menu also offers ‘mini’ dishes for small eaters, besides rice dishes such as their Beef Rice Don as well as Soba, Udon and Tempura. For families enjoying a holiday at Resorts World Genting, Tampopo is also perfect for the little ones as children will be treated to a customised kid’s menu that balances health, nutrition and delicious flavours. They will be able to choose from the best cuisine that Japan has to offer like Ebi Tempura + Chicken Katsu Ball + Tamago Yaki, Ebi Tempura + Takoyaki + Curry and Chicken Teriyaki Ramen. Each meal is served with a lovely soft-serve green tea ice cream. The Vegetable Tempura Moriawase and Hot Udon are also the perfect choices for vegetarians.
The desserts are definitely worth saving a space in your stomach as rather than being the perfect end to a meal, they are a good reason on their own to visit the establishment. For those who are looking to indulge their sweet tooth after breathing in the cool and fresh air of Resorts World Genting, Tampopo offers a wide selection of desserts including Fruit Roll Cake, Milk Pudding and Hokkaido Green Tea Ice Cream. For those who have never tried Japanese desserts, this is definitely a good place to start. You can’t mention Japanese desserts without thinking of matcha and their Matcha Cream Puff does not disappoint with a crunchy texture that overflows with fresh and rich green tea cream without overpowering the pastry. An alternative (although why not have both?) is their donut-sized Cream Puff with thick vanilla cream, much larger than your average cream puff.
The highlight is the deceptively simple Scoop Cake which is indescribably delightfully soft and fluffy, topped with fresh fruits. Matcha lovers can further satisfy their cravings with the Hot Matcha Green Tea Latte, Matcha Milk Shake and Ice Matcha Latte.
Tampopo Delicieux is located on Level G, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting. Operation hours are from 10am to 10pm, daily. For more information, please call +603 6101 1118 visit www.rwgenting.com.