When they opened their first store in Ginza Plaza (now called West Coast Plaza), I was still a student and could not afford expensive Japanese meals. Sakuraya allowed me to savour the freshest sashimi at an affordable prices.
Ginza Plaza (now called West Coast Plaza)
Ginza Plaza was one of the first mall in the West Coast Road precinct and was positioned as the first Ginza/Akihabara themed mall (hence Ginza) in Singapore. It has a Cold Storage stocked with so many Japanese goods that I have not seen before. It rented Japanese anime VCRs and memorabilia from Japan. It was a great idea for the Japanese school was nearby and there’s a sizeable Japanese expat community in the Western region.
Anyway, fast forward 10 years, the novelty wore off. It deteriorated and attracted mainly gaming parlours (those that offered LAN games, we have not entered the Wifi era yet) and aptly called Ginna Plaza (Hokkien for Kids).
Fish Mart Sakuraya
Sakuraya opened as a direct importer of fresh seafood from Japan, a Japanese style fish market where the fish on offer can be served sashimi – a nouveau concept for most Singaporean in the Eighties. “No need to cook ah?” asked one auntie (our term of endearment for old ladies). “Buay lao sai meh?” – I will not translate this one.
I have been to the one in Parkway Parade too. They have since developed into a Japanese supermarket and restaurant combined. Now they have four outlets, beside the Honten in West Coast Plaza, there’s Seletar Mall and Alexandra Plaza. At one point, they had one in Bunoa Vista near the Science Park, but that was from Ginza Plaza after it was closed for renovation.
You go to the supermarket section and picked whatever fish you like, they will help you prepare it into a sashimi platter. Like the one we had, it had 6 types of fish and costed $120, but that because we had a couple of expensive stuff like akagai and akami, if not, the platter would only be around $60.
Two items that caught my eyes – the shirako (cod milt) and ice lettuce. Ice lettuce 冰草 will never unseat arugula in salad, but this leafy succulent known as ficoïde glaciale in France is becoming an exotic favourite of chefs. The thick, fleshy leaves have a distinctive lemony bite. The stems are studded with minute bubbles that look like hoarfrost. Of South African origin, it has been grown in Brittany and is taking root in China.
The fish is as fresh as it gets, any fresher you need to be in Japan. Forget about service, this is a supermarket after all.
Fish Mart Sakuraya (Seletar Mall)
33 Sengkang West Avenue #02-01 The Seletar Mall
Tel : 6214 3736
Date Visited : Jan 2020
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