Sukiya Gyudon is a fast-casual Japanese dining restaurant serving affordable rice (don) bowls. There is quite the selection suitable for all budgets and appetites. Let’s check out their quick dining restaurant here at Suntec city with a dinner dine in.
Additionally, the Sukiya Gyudon chain in Japan is known as a budget fast dining restaurant. Their menu offerings are priced more affordably than in incumbents like Yoshinoya, known for their beef bowls. Also Sukiya Gyudon here is not to be confused with the similarly-named Suki-ya shabu shabu place we visited a couple of months back.
Furthermore, on some history, the first Sukiya was opened in Yokohama, Japan on 1982. It was not until 2008 where the chain expanded outside of Japan. Today, the chain has over 600 stores across South-east Asia, East Asia and Latin America, notably with 7 of them all over Singapore. Also, their Singapore branches are spread over city areas in Suntec City (here), 313@Somerset and Square 2. You can also find their outlets in outskirt heartlands such as Century Square, Changi City Point, Waterway Point and Jewel Changi Airport, to name afew.
Sukiya Gyudon in Japan
Moreover, Sukiyas in Japan typically operate as a lean 24/7 eatery as hole in the wall outlet in the city or as standalone stores in the suburbs, tad like a competitor to the Ichiran ramen chain, but with rice bowls. Also, in Japan, you can literally order and pay for your meal via automated teller machines. You can consume your meal at tall counters, and can be done in under 15 minutes. Interestingly, you can do all these even without any human interaction. It is very Japanese, but yet uncannily efficient too.
In Singapore, things are tad different, with the market here preferring social interactions and sit-down tabled sitting catering for groups. Also, diners here generally prefer sit-in dining-in for longer periods, especially during dinnertime. In typical Japanese fashion, the restaurant here has a layout packed to the brim with tables for groups and tall table counter seating suitable for smaller groups of 1-2 diners.
An extensive rice bowl selection
Additionally, on the menu is a selection of Don “sticky rice bowls”. Choices includes their signature Gyudon Japanese Beef Rice Bowl, as well as accompanying Beef Yakiniku sliced beef, and Japanese Curry. This, with their Yakitori chicken/Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) bowls, make up the bulk of Sukiya staple offerings.
Moreover, you get 5 portion sizes with most of Sukiyas rice bowls offerings. For value-hunters, I am glad to report that most of Sukiyas offerings are affordable. Bowls are priced under the $10, with their deluxe offerings going up to $14.80 per bowl for their largest curry bowl. Also, this price point offers more value than the offering at Washoku Goen’s which serves cheap and large curry rice portions.
Value $10 rice bowls
Furthermore, I find Sukiya’s premium Unagi (eel) and Salmon bowls quite the value proposition in offerings. This is considering eel dishes typically commands a premium in pricing. Notably, their Unagi bowls are only available in 2 sizes, $10.90 for a medium Unagi bowl and up to $19.50 for a Double Unagi bowl. Also, if you are undecided, their combination bowls of meats and vegetables is not a bad choice. You also have additional variation options for an egg or cheese toppings.
Moreover, I would recommend a large bowl if you are hungry for a quick and filling meal under $10. Also, larger bowl sizes grants you up to twice the number of meat toppings and up to 25% more rice than an “M-sized” bowl as a baseline. Also, despite their small medium bowls, the dish is rather hearty and filling. I found their medium-sized portions best paired with a side set meal.
All Sukiya’s rice dons are served with additional plastic melamine spoons on top of regular disposable chop sticks. In Japanese style, you can eat your bowls holding you bowl in one hand and chop sticks in the other. Each table has container side toppings of pickled radish are also offered to go with your meal.
Hearty Teishoku set meals pairing
In addition to bowl sizes, you have the option to upsize your bowls with an accompanying “Teishoku” set lunch add-on. Add-on options include a “Green Veggies” vegetable bowl, salad bowl or fried karage chicken. You can pair them with a bowl of miso soup or soft drink to complete your meal. The set meals are a value way to try the sides. For example 3 pieces of chicken karaage by itself costs $4.50, the price of the set meal itself, less an additional drink.
Moreover, you order through a unique generated QR code for your table and pay at the cashier before leaving. Your food is served really quickly. Dishes typically served in 5 minutes or less even on peak periods. Also, you can find typical Japanese quirky table buzzers at every table, though the staff hardly responds to them when pressed.
Additionally, it is not uncommon to find long queues snaking outside their Suntec store, especially on peak dinner times. But queues are relatively fast moving, going in-line of a Japanese quick dining establishment. On my visit, 6-7 groups ahead were seated under an impressive 15 minutes. Also, single and 2-person dining groups usually have shortest “priority seating”. Larger groups upwards of 4 could have longer wait times due to limited larger tables.
Affordable price point
In Japan, a typical Sukiya meal sets you about 500 yen ($4.90) to 1000 yen ($9.80) price depending on whether you are having combination bowls. In Singapore however, Sukiya is marketed at a slightly more expensive price point, targeted above the typical budget-market towards the mid-tier consumer dining market. Also, the higher rental cost of Sukiya’s restaurant locations in prime shopping centers here could be a reason why pricing is more expensive here.
Wrapping up, though the food in Singapore is slightly pricier, I find that Sukiya still offers the same value for the food offered for quantity, quality and price. Most food options by itself are priced around the $10 mark, which is similar to the Ninja Chirashi heartland stall we visited previously.
Also, a meal in Sukiya Gyudon can be really cheap, provided if you watch your Teishoku add-ons and bolt-end extras. Otherwise, your meal can quickly cross the $20 mark per person putting it squarely in the same price offerings of most premium-ish gourmet casual dining restaurants in Singapore like SORA Dining hall in the east, and the &JOY Dining Hall in the west.
All in all, Sukiya Gyudon offerings of a budget quick Japanese dining is a quirky addition into the rather already crowded Japanese dining market in Singapore. However, the value I see this new player bring is good competition. This is always a welcome to consumers like us who desire great fast Japanese food without paying too much a premium. It goes in line with the Sukiya’s we know off beyond our shores too. Pretty good, worthy of a recommendation.
Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Sukiya Gyudon Makan Place Locality Map
Sukiya Gyudon Japanese
3 Temasek Blvd, Suntec City,
East Wing, #01-647
Opening Hours: 10am- 10pm daily