Putting the Tori in Yakitori

Listen to this week’s smokelicious episode!


Yakitori Don (Grilled Chicken on Rice)

There’s nothing quite like the smoky-charred flavour of grilled meats treated with respect and skill, except maybe fresh seafood done the Japanese way and this week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh recommends a restaurant that combines the best of both worlds.

Chef Asai is the affable grill master of Bincho, a tiny little Japanese Yakitori joint in Tiong Bahru. Literally a hole in the wall, you enter through the coppery back door that it takes you into the bar area, which is decked out in metals, so it’s like being in a submarine. The story goes that the mee pok man running his stall was looking to retire, give way to the setting up of Bincho and simply collect rent from that enterprise, but there was a certain amount of backlash about the gentrifying of Tiong Bahru and edging out of old businesses, so they hit upon a more collaborative idea. Mee Pok man came out of retirement to serve his beloved noodles at lunchtime, whilst Bincho operates side-by-side.

Ultimately, what you get from Bincho at Hua Bee is the unique look and ambiance of a 70-year old traditional kopitiam featuring said old school mee pok stall, classic coffee & kaya toast, classic marble tables with wooden chairs PLUS the modern open-concept yakitori bar with playful Japanese-inspired cocktails as well as Japanese whiskies, sake and shochu.

Bincho serves up wonderful lunchtime Donburi sets ranging from $25++ that includes appetizers, salad, pickles, karage, soup and dessert. Chef Anthony recommends the Uni Ikura Donburi set – it’s luxurious, super-fresh and so delicious.

uni ikura don
Uni Ikura Don

For dinner, there are three types of set menus but be sure to order off the à la carte menu for some extra tasty specialities.

Full Dinner Set with chicken
Side dishes from Dinner Set








The menus at Bincho change frequently depending on what fresh produce is available that day, but chicken in various ways, shapes and forms will always remain the star of the kitchen (that’s where the tori in yakitori comes in!). In fact, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss out on the cock’s comb – gelatinous & soft in texture, it’s a delicacy that Chef Asai does exceptionally well!

Cock’s Comb!

Other smoking-hot favourites include Yakitori shio: grilled parts of chicken served with three types of condiments – yuzukoshō, freshly grated wasabi and mushroom salt an Yakitori tare: Grilled chicken parts dipped into a homemade sauce and served with Japanese mustard, wholegrain mustard and kuro shichimi ‘Black Japanese Seven Spice’.

TOP: Yakitori shio; BOTTOM: Yakitori tare

But do save room for the tsukune, which is essentially a chicken meatball/ patty that is grilled to juicy, tender perfection and made even more delicious with its crowning glory – a raw quail egg cracked right on top!

Tsukune Chicken Meatball

Bincho at Hua Bee
78 Moh Guan Terrace (Tiong Bahru)
Singapore 162078
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late
(Closed Mondays)

Smokin’ Hot Japanese BBQ

Click here to hear this week’s episode again!

This week, our Makan Kaki, Chubby Hubby Aun Koh shares with us his favourite Yakiniku place in Singapore…
As far as grilled meats go, Aun has discovered that he much prefers Japanese BBQ, Yakiniku to the Western versions, mainly because you can order different cuts of meat, which means more choice, and because he’s a self-confessed control freak, so he likes that he gets to cook for himself and others at his own pace!
Owned by a famous Japanese butchery, Yazawa Meat is the best Yakiniku in town according to Aun, mainly because of the variety and quality of the meat. Back in the old days, this butchery used to supply all the Yakiniku places in Japan but now have their own restaurants in Tokyo and also here in Singapore. Whole cows are shipped in from Japan to Singapore and to assure customers of the quality they’re getting, each cow is bestowed a special number, which is proudly displayed on the wall just outside the kitchen. The choicest cuts are available on their special menu insert and are truly exquisite – behold!
Of course, you’ll be paying for the quality of the meats (everything from pork to chicken to beef) you order off the special menu, but even if you decide on the less expensive main menu, everything is deliciously fresh and well-seasoned. But let’s be honest here: if you dine at Yazawa Meat, you’re really there for the BEEF! The meats come from Australia, the USA and of course, Japan (Wagyu is the highest grade).

Off the grill, be sure to also order the Yuke, which is an irresistible Japanese-Korean-style steak tartare. Unlike its French cousin, the Yuke is seasoned with Asian spices and sauces and really suits the Asian palate. Topped off with a raw egg, Aun assures us it’s a dish you’ll want to have all to yourself, no sharing!
Vegetables are pretty much an after-thought when you’ve got carnivorism in mind, but it has to be said that even their green sides are tasty and beautifully seasoned, especially their super-strong, super-flavourful shredded chive salad!
11 Unity Street
Robertson Walk
Open Daily: 6-11.30pm
Tel: 6235-2941