Nogawa At Le Meridien


“The standard for peeling Daikon is that you can still read the newspaper print through 3 layers of the Daikon,” whispered the Chef.

The Master overheard, smiled gently and added, “it took me three months to train them to peel daikon.”


The great and Skinny Epicurean has a great hobby of tasting all the sushi places in Singapore, and once in a while, she’ll send an invite to friends to join her in an afternoon of good food and great company. There was a small vote between Tatsuya and Nogawa. I voted for Nogawa because, while Ronnie Chia’s Tatsuya is award-winning and all that, there is something about going to the restaurant of the man they call the “Godfather of all Singaporean Sushi Chefs”.

Following the SE’s suggestion, I pointed to a lunch set in the menu and settled in to catch up with what’s going on with the world of the Dim Sum Dolly and The Skinny Epicurean. Lunch at Japanese restaurants is easier, not to mention much cheaper, because of the lunch sets. The individual items in the set can cost more than triple at some restaurants if ordered singly at dinner.


SE was talking about the blog entry I posted sometime back about the dangers of eating fish because of the dangerous levels of mercury found. I was joked that eating sushi was good for the heart but bad for the brain. I guess we should all maintain a balanced diet of meat, vegetables and fish; this way the BSE we get from beef competes for brain matter with the mercury from the fish and everything will be flushed out while you desperately try to rehydrate yourself because of Salmonella from vegetables. Bioaccumulation is a bitch.

So if you see this blog spouting nonsense, you now know why. Well… more nonsense than usual, anyway.


Halfway into a discussion about a possible retirement business venture for bloggers who can actually string two proper English sentences together, Nogawa-san appeared and started chatting with everyone. Eventually, he came over and said hello and posed for pictures.


He was pretty enthusiastic with the discovery of Kimkans from Kyushu. Kimkans (or Kumquats) have a sweet fragrant skin with a very bitter and tart flesh which people dislike. With the help of genetic engineering, the Kimkans from Kyushu is now sweet all over. Pop one in your mouth and release an explosion of sweet citrus flavor.


In fact, what he did was to hollow out the Kimkans, made ice cream with the flesh and stuffed it back in. The result was a beautifully refreshing dessert with a very long and clean finish. This blog slowly savored the stuffed Kimkans trying his best to prolong the sensation of bliss in his mouth. Compliments of the master.

By the way, don’t you think Kyushu Kimkans would be a great name for a all-female rock band?


While the ladies were chatting up the master, Chef Kelvin quietly brought out the master’s knife as a display. Handmade with a handle made from wood and walrus tusk and inlaid with silver, it was a very impressive knife. You can almost feel the aura of reverence and awe as it laid on the paper box.


A choir of angels chorused when the knife was drawn. The first thing that came to my mind was: Damn, did he hunt for fish with that too?

Of course, we are talking about the master whose legend includes him grabbing a handful of vinegared rice and saying exactly how many grains there are in his hand, to the accuracy of 3-4 grains.


Alas, my inner Singaporean blurted out, “how much did the knife cost?”

The Chef grinned and whispered back, “about 1 month’s salary.”


Lunch at Nogawa was a very pleasant experience. Simple, no fuss, high quality lunch sets at very reasonable prices to suit most budgets, just the thing to spend time catch up with friends and watch daikon being peeled while the world passes by.


Posted on 30th Apr 2008 in Japanese


There Are 4 Comments


ice commented on April 30, 2008 at 10:05 am

*gasp* SE’s gona spank you for her beautiful pix!

I love this place. 🙂


Camemberu commented on April 30, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Such beautiful photos! I love the first one – how it illuminates the daikon’s translucence!


Crunchasarus Rex commented on May 11, 2008 at 4:43 pm

I’ve always loved Nogawa.. and there was a Chef Tony there then.. i donch know if he is still around.


ivan commented on May 13, 2008 at 1:58 pm

@Crunchasarus Rex: Not too sure but I think he could be at the Sentosa restaurant.

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