Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beauty Pot [美人锅, Bijin Nabe] - Rich with Collagen @ Tsukada Nojo [The Atrium@Orchard]

When the Kon-Tan couple suggested a dinner at Tsukada Nojo, a restaurant that has yet to celebrate its 4th month of operation in Singapore, for its collagen chicken soup, i was hesitant.

Not that i dislike chicken soup but how fantastic can chicken soup be? Stew an old hen for a few hours in a pot of water and you could likely get a pretty mean soup. 

Again, it's a situation of "never try, never know".

After an hour of waiting (your mobile number would be noted and called upon once tables are available), we were brought in and my nostrils were immediately hit with an unpleasant smell! Now, that's not a good sign!

Nikumaki Onigiri
Before i start with beauty pot, please allow me to introduce you to Nikumaki Onigiri which is essentially "a bite sized rice ball wrapped in pork and baked with a special soy sauce"!

It was a hot favourite in Japan and i can understand why! They were delicious and even though i could vaguely taste the porky taste; it went perfectly well with the special sauce. I had two pieces and definitely would not mind having more!

Steamed Chicken with Ume Sauce
Enough said; no matter how tender and juicy the shredded chicken meat was, the fact that it was covered in salt made this incredibly unpalatable in my opinion. To be fair, the Kon-Tan couple liked this cold dish.

Bijin Nabe
The above was placed on our induction table shortly after the couple made the order. And i don't blame you for thinking it was a big pot of silky beancurd pudding!

Bijin Nabe, translated to 美人锅 in Chinese and Beauty Pot in English, is a specialty dish of Tsukada Nojo and available only from 5pm every day. Ingredients comprising of free range chicken bones, water and salt were boiled, simmered for eight long hours and finally cooled at room temperature to achieve the pudding texture.

Afraid to choke on tiny bits of chicken bones? 

Rest assured, eight hours were sufficient to fully dissolve them (hence the term collagen rich to describe the soup). In the above picture, you would have noticed the pudding had almost "melted"; thanks to the induction appliance built into the table.

Orders of the Bijin Nabe were on a per set basis; other than the coagulated chicken soup, there were prawns, minced chicken, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, black and white fungus, winter melon, yellow zucchini, yuzu, tofu and noodles.

Oh, and more chicken!

Honestly, by this time, i felt it was more a steamboat dinner than anything else and it's hard not to compare with the steamboat buffets along Liang Seah street that offer more than one type of soup and many types of meat for a lesser price.

Nothing prepared me for the first sip though; the melted soup had an intensified richness that was extremely flavourful, no doubt the effect of a lengthy stew with optimal absorption of high quality chicken.

Mom would have strongly endorsed the soup although she would likely advise the addition of some condiments to reduce the unpleasant aroma of the soup that remained strong even after coming to a boil.

You can choose one of three types of noodle for your soup; rice noodle, thick mochi mochi noodle and thin egg noodle. Don't wait till you are halfway through the soup before adding the noodles!

I personally preferred having rice (separately charged) to go with the soup.

One piece of advice - don't switch off the power of the induction appliance and leave the soup lying in the pot for too long. You would not want to drink it after seeing the chemistry effect in play.


60B Orchard Road, #03-81
The Atrium@Orchard

I lost the receipt!!!! 

According to the photographs i took, i knew that the bijin nabe is S$25 per set (a minimum of 2 sets is required) and the original Nikumaki Onigiri is S$3 a piece. I presume there are GST and service charge.

Additional Information
Open concept kitchen.

Where you can see the imported pot of chicken "pudding"! For your information, they were imported from Japan on a daily basis!

Remember to collect your reward card that was designed amusingly as a business card.

Advance from Assistant Manager to Chairman and with each promoted level (based on the number of visits); you would get a complimentary item from the restaurant!

Ms Tan (or was it Mr Kon) got us a serving of fries!

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