Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tsukada Nojo - Bijin Nabe

Famous Bijin Nabe
I've been patronising Tsukada Nojo pretty often (to be exact, it's 4 times in the last 3 weeks) to nourish myself. It's incredibly satisfying, after spending the whole day at work freezing, to sit next to a hot pot and watch someone else cook the ingredients, and to drink the nourishing soup (private joke). It's probably one of the few highlights in the lousiest 2 weeks of all time (at least in the last 2 years). I hope it doesn't become the lousiest 3 weeks or 6 months for that matter.
For the unenlightened (like WKR), Tsukada Nojo is this famous chicken collagen hotpot ramen which hails from Japan. The queues have been horrendous, such that they have placed a time limit of 1h per table for lunch, and 1.5h for dinner. They serve only individual bowls of ramen for lunch (in a clay pot) and their collagen steamboat for dinner.

Their menu is very simple - choose the broth you want (shio, miso, spicy). You can choose the level of saltiness for the lunch ramen, but not for the dinner hotpot.
Then choose the noodles - either thick mochi-mochi ramen (like mer kia), thin egg noodles (like wanton mee), or rice noodles (I haven't tried this, but I'm generally like yellow noodles with my ramen).
Dinner - Chicken collagen pudding hotpot
The chicken comes from Malaysia, and all the vegetables used are grown organically (not that it really matters to me, just as long as it's tasty). The server will do all the cooking for you, so you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the process. It starts with you patiently waiting for the chicken collagen pudding to melt and boil, and then the server will scoop out half a teacup of soup to let you try it in it's pure and unadulterated form. The server will also take out 2 pieces of the half chicken, which is eaten either plain or with a selection of 4 different sauces (some yuzu salt, a garlic and ginger sauce, soy sauce or chilli).
After which, they will add the vegetables (yellow zucchini, mushrooms, ladies finger, corn, watermelon radish, lettuce and some other leafy green vegetable) as well as the tofu (which is really quite nice) and shape the chicken meat balls. The noodles will be brought after the ingredients have been thrown into the pot. There's also prawns to add at the end, and they give a small soup top up too.  They also give this preserved seaweed paste, which tastes vaguely like not too salty marmite. There's also yuzu peel, which I never ever add.

I suggest that you turn down the heat once the mixture boils, cos the soup is so precious and is happily evaporating while you slowly eat your chicken.

I really hope that they boil only chicken bones, salt and water to form that pudding thing because I am very curious to know how many calories I'm consuming every time I eat the hotpot, and slurp up every drop of soup. (Omg someone told me that it probably is, since bones are full of fat and marrow etc etc and fat embolisation syndrome exists zomg!)

Some of the other side dishes I've tried are the tamago (not too bad, nothing spectacular), the chicken karaage which is very oily and has a nice egg mayo salad sauce on top, the siew mai (which is really horrible, please avoid it, it has a weird frozen/processed food taste).
Dinner - Complimentary lime jelly 
This is probably the worst place you can choose to arrange meet ups with large groups of people.
They don't accept bookings, don't seat you till everyone is here and stop taking bookings (usually by 730-8pm) if they are too full. Your best bet will be to rush down at 530 after work, or risk spending 1-2hours waiting for your table. At least, it's a sms-queue system, so you can shop and not waste your life standing in the queue.

I hope they decide to open more outlets so that the queues improve and I will be able to get my hotpot whenever I visit. See my previous posts here and here

Tsukada Nojo
60B Orchard Road
The Atrium-Orchard Level #03-81

Singapore 238891
Tel 6336 5003

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