Don dishes out donburi at Jalan Besar
Update: Don is now permanently closed.
With so many pictures of tempura don flooding Instagram feeds nowadays, it’s not surprising for some of us to feel a little FOMO just ‘cause we’re not spending hours queueing up at a tendon shop. Plus, it’s not cheap to keep up with this food trend; a bowl of tempura don can cost close to $20 at certain places.
If you’re part of the FOMO gang, check out Don at Jalan Besar. This hawker stalls dishes out Japanese rice bowls that are both generously portioned and satisfying. They’ve even come up with a giant donburi that features all the delicious components from their regular bowls. If you visit them in a small group, or with an ambitious partner, getting your hands on this bowl ensures you’ll get to enjoy a little bit of everything.
Food at Don
Before tackling the giant donburi, we tried their Wagyu Beef Don ($12.90). This popular choice featured slices of torched sous-vide beef and a runny onsen egg. All their bowls come with Japanese rice topped with furikake and a side of pickled vegetables.
Though the blushing beef slices looked tender, they were a little tough and too chewy. Dipping the wagyu beef in the runny egg yolk helped by adding richness to the meat. The tasty, sweet, and salty donburi sauce made the dish more flavourful and moist, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough to be evenly distributed throughout the bowl.
Their Salted Egg Yolk Tempura Don ($9.90) combined the familiar flavour with deep-fried tiger prawns and vegetables, including okra, a slice of sweet potato, a large shiitake mushroom, and enoki mushrooms. Instead of zi char–style salted egg sauce, Don coated their tempura pieces in salted egg powder.
The tempura was executed well and each component was cooked till tender on the inside and crisp on the outside without being greasy or soggy. Though the powder tasted pleasantly savoury and was a great as a seasoning, it lacked the distinct salted egg yolk flavour I was hoping for.
On to the star of the show, the huge Kyodai Don ($28.90). This ginormous don is big enough to feed three to four people, and contained all six of their signature toppings, including the salted egg tempura and wagyu beef we tried earlier, as well as mentaiko salmon, Korean fried chicken, garlic parmesan chicken, and Iberico pork belly.
The garlic parmesan chicken was quite tender on the inside and its crispy skin was seasoned well. The parmesan flavour was very strong and distinct while the taste of garlic took a back seat.
Their Korean fried chicken, or dak gang jeong, on the other hand, was made by evenly coating fried chicken in a sticky, sweet, and slightly spicy glaze. Though I prefered the garlic parmesan chicken as it remained crispy for longer, Korean fried chicken fans will enjoy the dak gang jeong.
The highlight of this dish was the mentaiko salmon. They cooked Norwegian salmon sous-vide style at a relatively low temperature of 43 degrees. This resulted in an incredibly tender block of salmon that was easy to pull apart. It was topped with mentaiko sauce before being torched, giving it a slightly smoky, aburi-like flavour. We would’ve been happy just to have this on its own with plain rice.
Each piece of their Iberico pork belly had defined layers. Though the textures of the slightly chewy lean meat, rich fat, and crispy crackling went well together, the pork was on the bland side as it was lacking in seasoning.
Ambience at Don
Located in a kopitiam on Foch Road, Don is about a 15-minute walk from Farrer Park and Lavender MRT Stations. When we visited on a weekday during lunch hours, we didn’t have much trouble finding a seat.
Overall, Don manages to stand out from other tendon and donburi joints due to their affordable prices and their gigantic donburi. Though the dishes here may not be impressive in terms of flavour, it’s a great alternative if you don’t want to break the bank for donburi. If you’re in the area, check out Royal J’s Seafood that’s just beside Don for some fried porridge or Lang Nuong for Vietnamese-style BBQ. Alternatively, this list of Jalan Besar food places might be able to help you decide what to eat!
Address: 30 Foch Road, #01-02, Singapore 209276
Opening hours: Thur-Tue 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 9:30pm
Tel: 9119 2619
Don is not a halal eatery.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.