Oishii おいしい Sushi Tei

I first started eating at Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice some 25+ years even before my elder daughter was born and the most recent trip there was 4th August 2012. I knew the exact date because I was acting like a local tourist that day. It’s been a 15-year break since I last ate there then. Keef’s friend, Ah Guan, brought us there for lunch before acting as guide to Bollywood Veggies (a local farm in the remotest corner of Singapore which I would definitely get lost), that Saturday morning. The duck meat was tender and the sambal prawns and kangkong were delicious… more awesome than I remembered. Perhaps 9 years away from the local scene made common Singapore food more yummy.

Photo credit: OpenRice Singapore

Photo credit: OpenRice Singapore

I had WhatsApp my girlfriend this morning 5th, April (after another sleepless night): “Woman, what are you doing?” to which she answered that she was going to do some furniture shopping and if I wanted to do a brekkie with her. I told her I was thinking more of lunch at Lim Seng Lee Duck Rice. The reason for this unlikely request (since I seldom eat lunch) was because after 45 long years of serving up millions of plates of boneless braised duck rice, Uncle Lim will be retiring soon and closing down his restaurant in June 2013. This brought to mind the conversation Keef, Ah Guan and I had – that the place is run old school and they did not consider franchising out their brand as many of Uncle Lim’s contemporary did. Perhaps his children did not want to become hawkers… anyhoo another loss of a giant in the local street restaurant and Teochew cuisine.

Photo credit: Eat Until Die

Photo credit: Eat Until Die. Haha, yes, Singaporeans and our love for good food!

As my girlfriend and I drove pass the coffeeshop that Uncle Lim has been selling his fare for almost half a century, we could see a snaking queue with people braving under the sweltering sun! There was also a problem with car parking. Whoa!!!

I reluctantly said “Let’s go some where else for lunch” as my girlfriend could only spend a couple of hours before running more errands this day. She replied, “If you don’t eat today, you might not get a chance again.”

True, true… but and timing are not playing the game my way. I wanted to do a post on Uncle Lim and perhaps interview him even… and also take photos of his food that I can at least feast with my eyes if not my tongue when June finally arrive…

“In that case, please think of an air conditioned place for lunch”, quipped my girlfriend who broke my chain of thoughts. We had actually spent an hour in the car. Time is of the essence now and we have to think of something good to eat with fast service! By then, we were already in Orchard Road, the shopping belt of Singapore.

Shoyu with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and pickled ginger.

Shoyu with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and pickled ginger.
Green tea is served by attentive staff doing their rounds quite frequently.

Soft shell crab roll with fish floss.

House Specialty – Soft shell crab roll with fish floss.

Salmon Mentai Sushi.

Nigiri Sushi – Salmon Mentai Sushi.

Cha Soba.

Noodles – Cha Soba (buckwheat) nestled on ice – a refreshing welcome on a hot humid day!
Quail egg that is usually served with this dish is missing here. I normally beat the raw egg in the dipping sauce with a tiny blob of wasabi for kick.

Ika Sugata with teriyaki sauce.

Yakimono – Ika Sugata with teriyaki sauce.

Hamachi Wafuu Carpaccio

House Specialty – Hamachi Wafuu Carpaccio – perfumed with sesame oil and shoyu.

Hamachi Wafuu Carpaccio.

House Specialty – Hamachi Wafuu Carpaccio.

Yufu Sashimi (4 kinds).

Sashimi – Yufu (4 kinds):
From left behind – Mekajiki (swordfish), Sake/Shake (Salmon), Tako (Octopus), Maguro (Tuna).

Chefs at work behind the sushi train counter.

Chefs at work behind the kaiten.

Lingering lunch crowd.

Lingering lunch crowd.

Sushi Tei outlet at Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, Singapore.

Sushi Tei outlet at Takashimaya, Ngee Ann City, Singapore.

As you can see, we ended up having good old Japanese semi-fast or semi-slow cooked (depends on how you want to rate them) food at Takashimaya. There’s a sushi train counter but we were led to table service area instead. The lunch crowd was in full force so there’s no choice on seating. We didn’t mind. We just want to have something to eat and be on our way. That said, I must give credit to Sushi Tei for their consistent quality in food and service.

Since their debut in 1994 at Holland Village, Singapore, with just 20 staff, Sushi Tei, a homegrown Japanese Kaiten (conveyor belt) chain gone international (okay, I exaggearated, just neighbouring countries), has over 1,000 in staff strength. Sushi Tei is also the first to introduce open-kitchen concept and serves an assortment of scrumptious and creatively designed Japanese gastronomy, appealing to the delight of aficionados of Japanese cuisine. Their menu features Japanese offerings and innovative dishes illustrating the emerging influence of Asia on modern Japanese cuisine.

This chain has been upgrading itself through the years, and the newer outlets boast designer decor with ambient lighting to enhance the dining environment. You can now find Sushi Tei in Indonesia (Bali, Bandung, Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Sabah), Australia (Sydney), P.R. China (Shanghai) and of course, Singapore. Sushi Tei also offers franchise program for experienced multi unit food operators.

I will not be talking about Japanese food as I have already done a few posts on them but I will compensate with a cha soba recipe :D. All I want to say is if you are craving for Japanese food that is consistent on good food quality on a moderate budget, Sushi Tei is king of the railroad – the sushi trains always arrive on schedule and your cargo is seldom (if ever) damaged. Sushi Tei remains my number one choice since 1994 😉

Sushi Tei’s Menu

Sushi Tei
Address:391 Orchard Road #05-30/31,
Podium Block Ngee Ann City.
Singapore 238873.

Tel: +65 6737 8878

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