Itadakimasu! We all know how much Singaporeans love their Japanese food. However, good Japanese food can be pricey and as students, most of us (not all I know) cannot always afford it. But fret not, I got you covered. Here are some recommendations to satisfy your Japanese craving!

Disclaimer: We understand that most students are thrifty, our recommendations below cover only items within the budget range of what most students can afford.

1. Donburi Bowls at Bricklane

Shop exterior of Bricklane
Bricklane restaurant’s exterior with neon lights, and a digital menu board. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

This quaint little space is situated right next to the Singapore Management University and a short walk from Bras Basah MRT. A study place by day and a supper spot by night, Bricklane is the perfect place for students to pop by for a quick bite and study.

The first thing that catches your eye when you enter is their graffiti murals.

Graffiti wall in Bricklane
Bricklane’s striking graffiti murals are aesthetically pleasing. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan 

With retro-themed posters and neon lights, it is a cosy and welcoming environment for its diners. Apart from the cool decor, they also play good music.

On their menu, you will find a variety of customisable donburi bowls starting from $4.90. Some of our favourites are the Honey Glazed Tofu ($4.90 nett), Chicken Karaage ($7.90 nett), and Grilled Teriyaki Chicken ($6.90 nett).

A bowl of Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Donburi
Bricklane’s Grilled Teriyaki Chicken is a fistful of flavour. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

This was my third visit and I ordered the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken ($6.90 nett). The juicy teriyaki chicken topped with mentaiko sauce and a poached egg on the side makes it a well-balanced meal. In my humble opinion, this is definitely a steal – a great portion size for its price that fills you up.

What we liked: Ambience and value for money
What we don’t like: Lack of variety in menu

Address: 70 Stamford Road, #01-22, Li Ka Shing Library, Singapore 178901
Opening Hours: 11am – 2.30pm & 4.30pm – 12am (Mon – Fri), 5pm – 12am (Sat & Sun)

2. Udon Noodles at Tsuru-Koshi

Shop exterior of Tsuru Koshi
Tsuru Koshi, crowded with customers during lunch hour. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

Tsuru-koshi is a popular lunch and dinner spot located at the end of the Takashimaya Food Hall in Ngee Ann City. Best known for its udon noodles, their menu offers a wide variety of modern udon dishes in contrast to their traditional udon bowls. You can find udon noodles served in creamy sauce and also, classic piping-hot noodles in soup.

A bowl of fresh and hot Tanuki Udon
Tanuki Udon being served fresh out the kitchen. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

I ordered the Tanuki Udon ($7 nett), an udon noodle soup dish typically served in a hot dashi broth and topped with tenkasu tempura flakes. It was highly recommended by the staff (and he was spot on). The consistency of the noodles was perfect – chewy and soft. A bowl full of comfort!

Some other affordable items below $10 include their Cold Zaru Udon ($7 nett), Donburi Bowls (from $9 nett), and side dishes like Ebi Tempura (from $2.20 nett).

What we liked: Efficient and friendly service
What we don’t like: The crowd during peak hours (and it can get a little too noisy)

Address: 391 Orchard Road #B2-01/02/03 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Singapore 238872
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm daily

3. Sushi at Kazoku Japanese Cuisine

Shop interior of Kazoku Japanese Cuisine
A snapshot of Kazoku Japanese Cuisine’s interior. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

Within a five-minute walk from the Novena MRT station, Kazoku Japanese Cuisine is located at the corner of Goldhill Plaza. It offers a wide variety of Japanese food – from chirashi bowls to sushi, making it the perfect place for indecisive people who cannot make up their minds about what to eat (but still crave for some Japanese).

I had a hard time ordering (yes, I am one of the indecisive ones) because everything on their menu looks irresistible. With a student-friendly budget in mind, I narrowed my choices down to three dishes – Tuna Katsu Don ($7.90 nett), Spicy Salmon Roll ($7.90 nett), and Saba Shioyaki Bento ($9.90 nett).

Dipping the Spicy Salmon Roll in soy sauce
Spicy Salmon Roll dipped in Japanese soy sauce. Photo Credit: Lam Cheng Yan

In the end, I ordered the Spicy Salmon Roll ($7.90 nett). The salmon was fresh and smooth, and they were also very generous with their ingredients. I could taste the right balance of salmon and rice with every bite. If you are a fan of sticky rice, this dish is a must-try! To elevate the taste, try dabbing wasabi on one side of your sushi, and dabbing the other side into your soy sauce.

What we liked: Mouth-watering food
What we don’t like: Especially warm environment on a hot day (visit during the evenings if you don’t like sweating while eating)

Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza, #01-05, ToGather Kitchen & Bar, Singapore 308899
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm daily

Proofread by: Danial Roslan and Kimberley Caleon