With over 96 outlets in Japan, Guenpin’s first foray in bringing fugu (puffer fish) outside of Japan, that is safe for consumption (and not to mention delicious), is in none other than Singapore to be its first overseas market.
Since the preparation of fugu is a serious matter, as another person’s life is at your hands, chefs go through many rigorous years of training before they are legally allowed to serve the fish to customers. We can only imagine that the task of having exporting it out of the country would be equally daunting, as the fish has to be free from all toxins before entering Singapore. Personally, I believe they did a great job in preserving the freshness of the fish in the exportation process, as I’ve experienced from the dishes they served.
If you are looking to go for a dynamic gourmet experience, I would highly recommend going for the Zeitaku Course ($168) which is a 9 course meal which comes with fugu and snow crab prepared in several cooking methods. Who knew those ingredients could be prepared in quite as many interesting ways?
First up, I had a Parboiled Puffer Fish Skin Sashimi ($14). While the skin alone had no distinct taste, the ponzu sauce provides a citrusy bite to prep your appetite for the upcoming dishes.
After which, I tried the Puffer Fish Sashimi both thinly and thickly sliced. There really isn’t a cohesive manner in which I can describe this, as it doesn’t taste like normal fish. The thinly sliced sashimi's texture is chewy, almost like rubber and taste-wise, almost like chicken. I would say it is an acquired taste, considering this was my first time trying it. As for the thick sliced ones, I would say it was more filling as the blend of the other ingredients such as the radish, ponzu soy sauce and spring onion creates an interesting dance of flavour and texture in your palate.
Thin Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi ($28) paired with special ponzu soy sauce from Japan. Guenpin’s signature dish!
Thick Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi ($32) topped with radish, ponzu soy sauce and spring onion.
So, what happens to the rest of the fish that doesn’t get used? Apart from the toxic body parts, there are parts of the fish that are edible and safe to eat. They can be used in a hotpot along with vegetables. From my personal experience, I quite preferred the fugu cooked in hotpot rather than the sashimi, after the fish has been cooked, it was a nice familiar taste to go back to.
Puffer Fish for Hot Pot (S$55) served with fresh vegetables, dipped with ponzu sauce for the perfect taste.
Also, in case you didn’t know, Guenpin also specialises in snow crab if you are looking to get your snow crab fix!
I’m not a big fan of crab in general, but this Snow Crab Sashimi ($32) was definitely one of the best and freshest prepared snow crab, I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely no regrets ordering this one!
If sashimi is not your thing, not to fret, as they also have Deep Fried Snow Crab ($28). I did like that it wasn’t all to oily, and the meat inside was pretty tasty, even though the claw needs some work to open to get to the meat.
Alternatively, you could have Grilled Snow Crab ($48). Yes, the meat inside was delicious though fairly limited if you are sharing for more than two persons. It comes with three different flavours: Garlic Sauce (slightly spicy), Korean Sauce (spicy and sour) and Japanese sauce (taste of black sesame). Worth the try but best to be enjoyed with other dishes at hand.
Last but not least, it is worth a mention that they have amazing porridge as well as ice cream that you should complete your meal with.
If you’re feeling adventurous and going to Japan is not in your timeline anytime soon, you can finally have a taste of pufferfish right at home at the following address below:
32 Maxwell Road,
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm; Dinner: 6pm – 12am
Saturday, Sunday, Eve of Public Holiday & Public Holiday: 5pm – 12am