Seafood Bucket

Review: Sakura International Buffet’s Seafood in a Bucket


For most of us, the trouble with eating fresh seafood at a restaurant is always the exorbitant price. This is especially true if you’ve got a voracious appetite developed from being at one too many buffets. So here’s a unique and very happy compromise – get a smaller serving of the seafood, but you get to reorder it as many times as you like.


Charging $25.80 to $42.80 (depending on the time and day you eat) per adult, the Japanese buffet chain Sakura International Buffet must be a miracle worker to make money out of this offer, as paying the buffet price entitles you to unlimited servings of seafood buckets. But UrbanWire can’t see how any diner can complain. Maybe that’s why it’s only available for brunch and dinner..


Restaurants specializing in seafood buckets here such as Crab in da Bag and Wholly Crab typically cook whole crabs and lobsters with vegetables like corn and carrots, and serve them floating in a bag of sauces. Or the seafood could be poured on your table on clean waxed paper, to be dipped in sauces. Despite the casual, even unsophisticated plastic-bib and use-your–hands approach to your meal, you can expect to shell out anything from $60, with more extravagant options costing up to $399. And that’s without ordering a second serving.


Which makes the bucket at Sakura that much more appealing. Each holds 2 small pieces of a Boston lobster, 4 squid rings and 4 clams, a couple of scallops, prawns, and mussels, one red potato, pieces of carrots/corn, and slices of lemon to squeeze over the ingredients. You don’t get crab or even a whole lobster each time, but you can compensate for the latter by ordering as many servings as your stomach allows.


Best of all, as in good seafood restaurants, the Boston lobster used in Sakura’s seafood bucket is fished out of a tank, alive and kicking, and cooked only upon ordering. The downside is you should expect a 15-minute wait for it to arrive. But the sheer shellfish sweetness of the soft, white lobster flesh makes up for it. Our only gripe was that the amount of lobster meat you get depends on which 2 parts of the lobster was allocated to you.

Court bouillon, a flavorful vegetarian stock, is used to poach the ingredients imparting a subtle flavor of the broth to the prawn and lobster, but less so the rest of the shellfish.


Every bucket came with 2 dipping sauces: the Spicy Saucy and the Classic Garlic Herb Butter. Spicy Saucy, a fusion of “7 and more chili sauces”, according to Sakura, complemented most of the seafood. Its flavor has hints of Thai sweet chili sauce and lemon juice. Even after some dipping, it leaves only a mildly spicy aftertaste, nowhere as tongue-numbing or fiery as chili padi. It’s probably a good idea when you’re trying to savor the subtle tastes of the lobster not to overpower it with spicy heat anyway.


Classic Garlic Herb Butter reminds us of garlic bread with its zesty, garlicky taste, with hints of salt and minced parsley bits whisked in smooth butter. As it’s more a paste, it may slip off most of the moist ingredients, and pairs better with the corn and potato.


UrbanWire understands that the purpose of not cooking the ingredients together with the sauce (the way you would for chili/black pepper crabs) is to cater to families with children, or anyone, who might not like the fiery chili.


The sauces definitely didn’t scrimp on flavor, but hours after we had our meal, we found our mouths a little dry, which might indicate MSG used in some of the food we ate, though we’re not sure if it was from the dipping sauces or the other food we had in the buffet.


And just when you thought Sakura’s seafood bucket couldn’t get any better, you find that the price gives you access to their other food selections too. The ample buffet table offers a variety of Western, French, Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines; with plenty of side dishes such as chawanmushi, teriyaki chicken slices that pair with spaghetti and garlic fried rice. There is, of course, the usual selection of finger food, including dim sum such as bird nest egg-tarts and custard buns, sushi and sashimi that will be sliced and served to you upon ordering.


Besides local dishes like laksa (a fat rice vermicelli in a coconut curry gravy with prawn and chicken slices) and chicken rice, 2 new DIY counters at Sakura allow you to make your own papaya salad and Thai beef noodles, along with a good selection of desserts spanning from ice cream with waffles, to chocolate mousse, mango sago and more.


UrbanWire went to the revamped outlet located at Clementi Woods, which reopened in August after renovations. The restaurant surrounds a small park, and has long rectangular tables at 1 section of the restaurant which can easily accommodate large groups such as the ones you find in family outings or office celebrations too. It really helps that they’re halal certified, so no one needs to be left out.


The seafood bucket is available at all 6 Sakura International Buffet outlets, but only for brunch and dinner. This promotion is valid throughout the festive season till January 16, while stocks last.



Clementi Woods

93A Clementi Road

Clementi Woods Park

Tel: 6474 8197


Admiralty Park

31 Riverside Road

Tel: 6368 8197


Downtown East

1 Pasir Ris Close #02-02

Tel: 6755 8197


SAFRA Jurong

333 Boon Lay Way #2B-01

Tel: 6760 8197


SAFRA Tampines

1A Tampines St. 92 #01-00

Tel: 6784 8197


Yio Chu Kang

210 Ang Mo Kio Ave 9 #01-208

Tel: 6754 8197


Price range (all nett price, note that the seafood bucket is only served for brunch and dinner):

Lunch (Mon – Fri, 12pm – 3pm, last serving at 2:30pm)

Children (Below 12 years old and 1.4m): $16.80

Adults: $25.80

Senior Citizen (60 years old and above): $25.80


Brunch (Sat/Sun/Eve of Public Holidays/Public Holidays, 11:30am – 3:30pm, last serving at 3pm)

Children: $18.80

Adults: $39.80

Senior Citizen: $35.80


Dinner (Mon to Thurs, 6pm – 10pm, last serving at 9:30pm)
Children: $18.80

Adults: $39.80

Senior Citizen: $35.80


Dinner (Fri to Sun/Eve of Public Holidays/Public Holidays, 5:30pm – 10pm, last serving at 9:30pm)
Children: $19.80

Adults: $42.80

Senior Citizen: $38.80