The rice bowls at Doco Donburi are made more flavourful with sprinkles of crushed, crispy fish skin.
Crushed up, crispy fish skin is the donburi ingredient I never knew I needed, until I had Doco’s two donburi (rice bowl) options.
The unassuming, five-seat food kiosk in International Plaza is called Doco after Donburi Coconut, a name that reflects the donburi bowls and the two coconut dishes that are on the limited menu here.
The space is also a collaboration between fish-skin snack company Fish Sh-nack and Soicoco, which makes raw coconut-based shakes and desserts.
While rice bowls and coconut might seem an odd pairing, it works better than you think.
There are two protein options that come atop Japanese rice. Sh-nack Don ($8.90) comes with grilled beef, an onsen egg and Cajun fish “sprinkles” (or Cajun-flavoured crushed-up fish skin), while Sh-ken Don comes with honey miso chicken, an onsen egg and regular fish-skin sprinkles.
The beef bowl is far more successful, with the generous serving of fish sprinkles adding great texture and a slightly spicy hit to the creamy egg and rice combination. The beef is tender, but what it lacks in flavour is made up for by the fish sprinkles.
While tender, the honey miso chicken, on the other hand, is a tad sweet and throws the dish out of balance. It probably would have worked better with a more savoury teriyaki sauce.
The surprises are the coconut desserts – a coconut “shake” that is essentially coconut water and flesh ($4.90) instead of a typical milkshake, and a coconut soft serve ($4.90) that comes with a sprinkling of grated gula melaka that melts into the ice cream slowly.
Both options are refreshing additions that help to wash down the heavy rice bowls. They are also vegan-friendly and dairy-free.
As part of an ongoing promotion, lunch sets – comprising one of the rice bowls with a choice of one of the coconut desserts – are priced at $11.90 instead of the regular $13.90.
The rice bowls were filling, thanks to the protein, but I honestly would not have minded just having fish sprinkles and an onsen egg on rice.
01-16 International Plaza, 10 Anson Road, tel: 9049-9926; open: weekdays, 11am to 8pm, closed on weekends
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 19, 2017, with the headline ‘Fish sprinkles do the trick’.