Bijin Nabe (Beauty Steamboat), a Japanese hot pot using collagen-rich soup stock, is the latest addition to my list of favourite steamboats. Available only for dinner at Tsukada Nojo, a cosy Japanese restaurant located at The Atrium@Orchard. We waited 90 minutes to get a table on the third day of CNY. This outlet is the first outside of Japan.Collagen Pudding in the Hot Pot
The smooth and cream-coloured masses are actually solidified collagen-filled stock that formed a jello-like substance when chilled. The stock is made using organic chickens raised on Tsukada Nojo‘s own farm in Miyazaki Prefecture on Kyushu island for their Japanese outlets. “Nojo” refers to “farm” in Japan and Kyushu is the island where the famous Tonkotsu (Pork Collagen) stock originated from. As Singapore prohibits the import of Japanese poultry, the stock here is made using locally available organic, free-range chickens. It take more than eight hours to prepare the stock.
Watching the kitchen crew scooping portions of collagen stock jello for the Bijin Nabe reminded me of Soy Bean Curd (Tau Huay) being served.
The restaurant gives preparation instructions to ensure that guests fully enjoy the flavour of the collagen stock and the ingredients that were cooked in it.Collagen Pudding gradually melting
The texture of the solidified stock is similar to Mango Pudding and Silken Tofu. The collagen pudding gradually melted over the heat to form the soup base.Chicken chunks in the boiling collagen stock
Thankfully, they use induction stoves so the soup started boiling pretty quickly. Time to scoop out some soup and fish out the juicy chunks of chicken.
We were blown away by the rich flavour of the soup! It tasted like a very concentrated chicken extract. This is a Must-Try in its unadulterated form!Ingredients for the Bijin Nabe Set Dinner @ S$25 per person (Minimum order is for 2 diners. Above image is the portion for 3)
The friends sharing my pot were hungry so we dumped almost everything into the pot in the sequence prescribed. The Japanese lady who was assisting 2 other friends with adding ingredients, told them that the prawns should be added at the end as it would change the flavour of the stock. We compared the flavour from both pots of soup. There is a difference. Add the prawns at the end to prolong your enjoyment of the original Bijin Nabe soup. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our steamboat as the fresh ingredients were of a better quality than some steamboat places with a similar price point. The Tori Tsukune (minced chicken meat) gets dry pretty quickly so be careful not to overcook it.Noodles for the hot pot Thin Egg Noodle for 2 (left) & Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle for 3 (right)
Diners can choose between 3 types of noodles. We were advised to take the Thin Egg Noodle but we ordered the Thick Mochi-mochi noodle as well. I preferred the thick Mochi-mochi noodle as I thought the egg noodles had a strong lye water flavour.Condiments for the Bijin Nabe Clockwise from top: Chili Shoyu, Negi Ginger Oil, Yuzu Pepper & Red Chili Oil
The restaurant features four condiments from Japan: (1) a lightly spiced chili-infused Shoyu, (2) chopped Negi (onion) and ginger in oil, (3) a citrusy and spicy Yuzukosho (Yuzu Pepper) paste and (4) Red Chili Flakes cooked with Sakura Ebi (Cherry Blossom Shrimp) like a Japanese version of XO Sauce. My favourite was the Yuzukosho, made of grated Yuzu (a fragrant and highly prized Japanese citrus fruit) zest and grated chili peppers.
At the end of the meal, each of us were given a loyalty card to accumulate stamps for rewards. Valid only for 6 months from the date of issue, you need to make another visit to be promoted to “Manager”. I’m not sure how this “promotion” is attractive but loyalty rewards are always welcome. We loved how the Japanese lady (we guess she’s the restaurant manager) decorated the plate bearing cubes of chocolate brownies using squeezy bottles.
Though we waited for 90 minutes to get a table, we were very satisfied with the meal. Hope they’ll open more branches so maybe we won’t need to wait so long in future.Tsukada Nojo #03-81 The Atrium@Orchard 60B Orchard Road, Singapore 238891 Telephone: +65 6336-5003 (No Reservations) Email: email@example.com Operating Hours: Daily: 11.30 am to 4 pm (last order: 3 pm) & 5 pm to 10 pm (last order: 9 pm)