Tori Sanwa is a famous Japanese oyako don restaurant in Raffles City
If chicken is your favourite choice of protein, and you love Japanese food, you’ll want in on this. Tori Sanwa, a famous Japanese chain with over 120 years of history, has quietly opened its first Singapore outpost at Basement 1 of Raffles City Shopping Centre.
Helming from Nagoya, the restaurant specialises in all things chicken, from oyako don AKA chicken and egg rice, to an award-winning fried kaarage. Sadly, this SG outlet does not use eggs or chicken from Japan, though the recipes are said to be the same as the other branches.
Food at Tori Sanwa
Their Oyako Don ($12.90++) is a signature here, but we opted to go one step up with their Aburi Oyako Don ($14.90++) as it sounded more special. Each bowl gets you a generous serving of silky-soft, umami-packed egg cooked with dashi and sweet onions, blanketing a bed of Japanese rice.
Studded in between the creamy egg-onion layers were small chunks of torched chicken thigh that boasted a gorgeous char on the outside. I found the meat tender and the smokiness discernible when enjoyed on its own, but the sweet-salty toppings overshadowed the charred flavour when you have them together. Also, the chicken was cut into small bits, so it didn’t feel as shiok as I wished, texture-wise.
We much preferred the Chicken Cutlet Don ($14.90), which came with strips of breaded and deep-fried chicken cutlet instead.
Despite sitting under the creamy egg layer for a prolonged period of time, the fried katsu still retained some crisp in its batter. It was well-seasoned and the meat within was sufficiently tender.
Pair each piece of katsu with a scoop of rice and the omelette; the contrast between the sweet-salty dashi-infused sauce, silky eggs, and meaty chicken crowned this bowl our unanimous favourite. My only gripe was that the egg and sauce components leaned salty.
If you’re not big on oyako don, try their other bestseller: Chicken Teriyaki Hitsumabushi ($15.90++). Hitsumabushi is typically served with eel, but this chicken specialty swaps that out for teriyaki chicken instead.
You get a good portion of short-grain rice topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce and beautifully charred chicken slices neatly arranged in two rows. I particularly enjoyed the caramelised skin on the outside—this was teriyaki chicken done right.
Unfortunately, the sauce and chicken were also on the salty side, so we found ourselves thirsty in no time. To counteract that, pour some dashi over and enjoy. The light broth helped to tamper some of the heavy flavours, making this dish more palatable.
Each main comes with a small bowl of soup, pickles, and chawanmushi, which also leaned salty. Get the most bang for your buck by topping up $3++ for two pieces of kaarage and your choice of hot or cold tea.
A brand representative told us that this Kaarage won first prize in the Kaarage Grand Prix back in 2019. It’s also available a la carte at $5.90++ for three pieces.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this fried chicken. Each piece was a perfect size—two bites and you’re done—and came with the ideal meat-to-batter ratio. The batter coating was pleasantly light, while the meat within was uber tender and juicy.
If you want to zhng up your meal with more sides, consider sharing the Tsukune ($5.90++). You get three sizeable chunks of Japanese-style chicken meatballs, lightly grilled and coated in a sweet tare that’s similar to teriyaki sauce, but less sweet. Each chunk was fall-off-the-fork tender and juicy within—yum.
Tsukune is often prepared with chicken cartilage but I didn’t notice any crunch inside—perhaps this version is made without so it’s more kid-friendly.
There’s also an interesting Scotch Egg ($4.90++) on the menu, but we found it to be pretty sub-par and not worth the price tag.
Ambience at Tori San
Tori Sanwa sits in the basement of Raffles City, directly outside City Hall MRT Station, where all the other restaurants and food kiosks are at. In case you’re having trouble finding the place, it’s located opposite Ya Kun.
The casual diner sits around 40-odd people, with booth seats and regular tables. There’s not much of a theme to the minimally decorated space, and the restaurant gets fairly packed during the peak lunch hour, so it’s more suited for a quick fix instead of a lengthy meet-up.
NGL, I was a tad disappointed at first after finding out that the eggs and chicken—the two main components in oyako don—are not sourced from Japan. Furthermore, the food leaned salty—even for our salt-loving palates. Nonetheless, the value-for-money portions, wallet-friendly prices, and central location made our experience here a pleasant one, overall. I think this will be a great place for a fuss-free meal if you’re running errands in town!
For more delicious food in City Hall, visit Surrey Hills’ latest Raffles City outlet! Otherwise, read our Synthesis review if you’re up for delicious Asian fusion bites and drinks in Suntec City instead.
Address: 252 North Bridge Road, #B1-75 Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 10pm
Tori Sanwa is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Chiara Ang and edited by Chew Yi En.
This was a media tasting at Tori Sanwa.