Having read many raved reviews of Tsukada Nojo’s famous Bijin Nabe (美人鍋/Beauty Pot), my family and I decided to try it out for ourselves one Friday night, but only to be turned away because they were “full house” and “closed” by 8pm and would not be able to take in anymore guests because the entire experience takes about 2h and they close at 9.30pm. We went down the next day, this time at 5.30pm. And while one would think that we would get a table immediately, we were told that we had to wait as there is already a list of guests ahead of us. We left our name and number at the counter, and thankfully an hour and a half later, we received a call that our table is ready. 7pm – time for dinner.
Tsukada Nojo prides itself in using the highest quality breed of free-range chicken, Jitokko, that is raised in their own poultry farm located in Miyazaki-southern Kyushu, 1000 km away south from Tokyo. These nourishing Jitokko bones are then boiled for more than 8 hours to extract the pool of collagen. These collagen puddings are then transported all the way from Japan to its very own restaurant in Singapore.
The Bijin Nabe ($25/pax, minimum of 2 person per table to order, and only available for dinner) is thus a hotpot containing collagen-rich organic chicken broth, served with various fresh organic vegetables, mushrooms, prawns, and other nutritional ingredients.
When the waitress first arrived with a pot of what seemed like smooth, silky pudding, we were slightly taken aback. Turns out that these big pile of lump is actually the collagen itself. And as the induction pad was turned on, it miraculously melted and liquefied into a boiling pot of what-seemed-like-just-any-regular chicken broth.
But no. Once the collagen pudding has fully dissolved, the waitress served a small cup of the pure soup to the guest. It was intensely rich and concentrated in chicken flavor, and it was not at all salty. Warm and extremely comforting, it was definitely the result of a lengthy stew of a high quality chicken.
The waitress then comes with another pile of ingredients. She introduced it one by one to us and placed them in the pot in a systematic manner according to the instructions on the wall and in the menu on how to correctly eat this Bijin Nabe. Because apparently each ingredient can alter the taste of the soup…
The hotpot set also includes a serving of noodles, Thin Egg Noodle, Rice Noodle or Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle. We decided to be a little wild that day a try the thick Mochi-mochi Noodle. The noodles were slightly thicker and chewier than kway teow. You can also ask them to refill your soup, but one person is only entitled to one refill.
There are also other ala carte items such as onigiri, tamagoyaki, grilled chicken wings, and this chicken salad. And during lunch, they have a full range of ramen served with this Jitokko chicken broth. Who knew ramen could be sooooo healthy and delicious at the same time? 🙂
But I’ll still stick to its Bijin Nabe, the real deal comfort food. Would I be willing to wait for that long though? I guess so, actually because while waiting, I can do some shopping in Plaza Sg, or just have a cup of coffee at Hoshino Coffee or even some pre-dessert at Nana’s Green Tea 🙂
#03-81 Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road