Dashi, the bedrock of any Japanese soups (yes, the Mother of all ramen and udon broths), is an often overlooked component in the cuisine. After all, it is simply made of just water, kombu (dried kelp) and bonito fish flakes!
At MAI, this takes centre stage as they pay homage to this quintessential Japanese soup stock.
Truth be told, it was my first time seeing dried bonito (Katsuobushi) in whole, before it gets shredded to flakes which we commonly see as topping for takoyakis.
The Dashi used at MAI is on a different league as compared to anything I have ever tired before. This is attributed to the laborius fermenting of the skipjack tuna for 2 years (most do it up to six month or a year). This process is crucial in drawing out almost all the moisture, resulting in a concentrated, strong umami flavour. Throw in some high quality Rishiri kelp and you have an unbelievably flavourful and wholesome broth!
A piece of fully loaded umami
To bring out the Dashi goodness, there are a variety of speciality dishes one can choose from! For beef lovers, there is literally nothing better than the A4 Japanese Wagyu Beef Toban Yaki set, it is melt-in-your-mouth tender perfection coupled with fragrant and fluffy Dashi rice. This really left me yearning for more and more.
A4 Japanese Wagyu Beef Toban Yaki set (S$49++)
For those looking for something lighter, a seafood feast would fit your bill. Seasoned with shoyu, sake, mirin and yuzu juice, the Scallop & Oyster Toban Yaki set brings out the natural flavours of premium ingredients.
In my opinion, first-timers should go for the Shabu Shabu sets. The reason is simple — you get to taste for yourself, the full glory of the umami packed broth here and you will understand what i mean by the Dashi difference. Savour every spoon of goodness. Choose either the US Angus Beef or the Hokkaido Pork Loin to go with.
US Angus Beef (S$29++)
Beside set lunches, omakase lunches and dinners are available as well, with strong emphasis on their signature Dashi stock and speciality sides like the Half Dried Bonito Fish Jerky and Bonito Stock Flavour Deep Fried Chicken. If you are into authentic Japanese culinary experiences, this is one you should definitely get under your belt.
MAI 46 Bukit Pasoh Road Singapore 089058
Tel: 6327 8414