Do you ever go out with friends for a Japanese feast and slather your sashimi in wasabi, leaving your friends staring at you in a state of shock as you munch away, utterly unphased by the tinglings of the little green spice?
If you've become immune to the effects of wasabi, it's time to look elsewhere, to a dish which will challenge your taste buds. With all of the choice of Japanese food in Singapore, you might have to do a bit of digging, but don't fear, we've done most of the hard work for you.
1. Yonpachi - Tako Wasabi
Okay, so whilst we said that we were going to make a side step from wasabi, we couldn't make a list of fiery Japanese starters without mentioning the Tako Wasabi from Yonpachi. A small squid is marinated in wasabi for an incredible mustard flavour, with predictably fiery results. Based in Clarke Key, Yonpachi also specialises in make-your-own broths where you can experiment with a range of authentic ingredients to make it as a spicy as your heart desires.
2. Hokkaido Izakaya - Hokkaido Wagyu Roasted Beef
This spicy stew from Hokkaido Izakaya could be a starter for two or a main for one. Made from only the best Wagyu beef tendon, the melt-in-the-mouth texture of the meat, complements the rich spiciness of the soupy sauce. Spicy miso is often grossly underrated in Japanese cooking, even though the salty spiciness of the paste brings out meat flavours in the most unique and interesting way. This Wagyu dish is perfect for setting yourself up ahead of a long night with a few sake and is also a perfect reminder, should you need one, that Japanese food is more than just sushi.
3. MOJO - Pork Belly and Leek Yakitori
Yakitori is traditionally skewers of chicken, however, MOJO has put their own spin on the dish with a Pork Belly and Leek Yakitori, which is seasoned with Nanami. You have probably never come across Nanami, however, if you are a fan of sushi, you have definitely tasted it without being aware. More usually referred to as Shichimi, it's a powdered spice of seven different chilli peppers, which is used throughout Japanese cooking. The spice's distinctive red glow means it is often used to dress dishes which might otherwise appear dull, but in this instance, the Nanami is used to flavour the pork, and its spiciness is a perfect partner for sweet pork.
4. NOJO- Dynamite Salmon Roll
A sushi dish can make a great starter to a hot main course, and the dynamite salmon roll from NOJO is no exception. You probably won't want to put any extra wasabi on this roll, as it is already covered in a spicy dynamite sauce and extra chilli. However, it'll wake up your taste buds so they're ready for the next course. Teppanyaki anyone?
5. Sakae Sushi - Chuka Kurage Chinmi
"Chinmi" literally means delicacy and often refers to cuisine which has fallen out of consciousness in Japanese cooking. In this case, the chinmi is jellyfish. Sakae Sushi season the jellyfish with chilli and salt to bring out the sweetness of the meat. The smooth and slightly crunchy texture makes for a perfect starter, and the taste of jellyfish is the best precursor to a grilled pork dish.
Got your taste buds tingling? Head over to Deliveroo for more dishes packed with chilli and spice!