Niigata City Food Fair at Tóng Lè Private Dining
Japan is such a diverse country with multiple prefectures, each with their own crowning glory. When we speak of Japanese tourism, the usual suspects are Hokkaido, Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto etc. However, there are multiple hidden gems interspersed amongst the many cities that make up Japan, and Niigata is one of them.
With the Shinano River running through and irrigating the city before opening into the Sea of Japan, Niigata is a port city renowned for their seafood, rice, Sake and fresh produce. From now till 30 Dec 2016, Tóng Lè Private Dining has partnered with Niigata City Prefecture to feature a set menu incorporating freshest ingredients direct from the famed “Rice Kingdom”.
We loved the Snow Crab (featured in the dinner menu), which consists slivers of the sweet, briny snow crab flesh marinated in two types of rice wine, served on a bed of Japanese tomatoes and topped with ikura.
Ama-ebi, or sweet shrimp, is an extremely popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. What is special about the sweet shrimp featured in this specially curated menu is that their color and shape resembles that of chili peppers or 'nan-ban', earning them the nickname of Nanban Ebi. In order to preserve the sweetness and texture of these prawns caught off the coast of Niigata, Chef Ling of Tóng Lè has chosen to top the raw prawns on a light, velvety smooth pumpkin soup with delicate Japanese mushrooms.
No one does Wagyu like the Japanese, and the Wagyu beef we had was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and rich in flavour. Also excellent was the succulent greens and roasted chestnuts served on the side.
For a city nicknamed the “Rice Kingdom”, it was unavoidable that all the attention was focused on the Uonuma rice course. Here, the specialty rice from the fertile lands of Niigata was skillfully prepared and presented as a creative take on the local favourite Chicken Rice. This nutty and slightly sticky Japanese rice fully absorbed the flavors of the chicken stock, and the accompanying trio of soya sauce, roast and white chicken were tender.
By now, everyone was looking forward to dessert- the star ingredient being the elusive Le Lectier pear. First imported into Japan from France more than a 100 years ago, the pear is extremely difficult to cultivate and vulnerable to the elements, with a harvest limited to just a month, usually starting late November, hence earning its nickname “the Phantom Pear”. Here, the fruit was hollowed out and frozen to serve as a receptacle for the most delicate and sweet pear sorbet. Definitely worth making your way through the menu for this!
Niigata promises high quality ingredients and world class agricultural facilities, all in a city that is highly accessible by flight, sea, road and rail. Less than 2 hours away from Tokyo by the bullet train, it is an opportunity for tourists who wish to venture somewhere a little more slow paced, with great food and warm hospitality. Don’t just take our word for it; experience first hand the great range and standard of Niigata produce at the Niigata City Food Fair at Tóng Lè Private Dining. The 4 course lunch menu is priced a $60/pax, while the 6 course dinner menu is priced at $138/pax and are available till 30th of December 2016.
Tóng Lè Private Dining
60 Collyer Quay
OUE Tower Level 8 & 10
Tel: +65 6634 3233
Tel: +65 6634 3233