I was recently invited to a tasting session at TODAI, an international all-you-can-eat buffet chain restaurant located at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, and totally jumped at the chance. You see, I love buffets, and the many types of food that come with it. Variety is the spice of life, right. And oh, did this place have variety. From fresh seafood, to Korean, Chinese, Italian, Western, TODAI had these and more.
Personally, I felt that the highlight of the buffet was definitely the Alaskan snow crab station. Piled high on a bed of ice, these goodies disappeared at the blink of an eye but were replenished quite quickly by the staff. Biting into the big fat leg of the crab resulted in sweet, delicious juice bursting into song in my mouth, seriously making me swoon. Dry is definitely not a word that exists in the realm of this dish – each and every piece was so juicy (I had about 4 or 5 pieces), tender and sweet in a fresh seafood sort of way (not in the dessert or processed sugar kind of way). So. Good.
The freshly shucked oysters were of pretty good quality and taste as well – they tasted fresh, were fairly plump and juicy, and weren’t grainy or sandy. They only allowed people to take 2 pieces at a time; which actually if you think about it, is quite a good system, not only to prevent hoggers and allow more people to enjoy them, but also to help ensure that you get a positive experience which won’t happen if you leave them on the table for too long. Also tried the fresh mussels and prawns – the mussels were good too, nice and firm and fresh; the prawns were okay, fresh too but I felt were a bit bland, not sweet enough for me.
This two-each-time rule also applied to the chilli crabs – but they were so popular and had an insanely long queue that I didn’t try them in the end. The sauce was not bad though, had quite a kick and wasn’t too sweet.
TODAI had sashimi and also a very wide selection of sushi as well – but unfortunately although the variety and innovativeness (quite unusual flavours of sushi) for the latter was there, the rice and general presentation of garnishes piled onto them looked kind of messy and unappealing (and plus, the dish is really very carb loaded), so I just had three for taste – and they were just okay. As for the sashimi, there were only salmon and tuna available, and were also so-so as well – I’d say save the space for the other fresh seafood items.
Or even for the oven baked / grilled / fried items (all around the same station) or Chinese dishes – these were actually surprisingly good as well. In particular I liked the baked salmon, garlic chicken wing, beef shortrib, steamed fish, yam and red bean ball, and the caramel and fig duck (in the pictures below). From the Korean station, the thick glass noodles were yummy – light and savoury and the pan-fried fish coated in egg, delightful. The seafood pancake was a bit doughy though.
From the appetizers station, I really enjoyed the cold preserved seaweed, curry tuna mashed potatoes that were really tasty – and the rest were not too bad as well – sautéed mushrooms and garlic, smoked duck, and roast beef carpaccio. And from the churrasco section, the steak, roast pork and grilled mushrooms were pretty good, juicy and flavourful – but it seemed like a matter of luck as to whether you are able to get any of these; only if you happen to be there when the chef is cooking up a batch. But I didn’t really try asking though, as someone from our table was in luck and got a plate of each of the two earlier mentioned meats, so perhaps asking would yield some results.
So much food right? And there’s more – an Italian counter, which I never got around to trying. A small dim sum corner, which I took a token siew mai from – tasted alright. A Japanese zaru soba counter, a salad counter. There was also a comprehensive drink counter with a wide selection including soft drinks, water, green tea, flavoured teas and yes, you read it right, Milo. I think they were trying to add some local flavour – well, the drink was a hit at our table. Crazy amount of food displayed at this place – pretty much able to provide something for almost everyone, I believe.
And of course, we can’t forget about dessert! The spread for this was pretty impressive as well, with an entire macaron tower, a soft serve ice cream machine (that allows you to do the vanilla and chocolate twist, I’m sold), and also little plates and glasses of sweet treats. By this time I had really little space left, so I just had a small banana chocolate mousse and some tiramisu ganache looking cake, as well as a twist of soft serve smothered with lots of nuts. The little cakes were quite nice, smooth and lightly sweet, though I didn’t quite fancy the very cake-y base. The soft serve well… tasted like regular soft serve, but the nuts made it awesome – though some chocolate sauce would’ve improved it a bit further – it was a pleasant finish to a rather large, satisfying meal.
Overall I was really quite happy with the quality and variety of the food, the ambience, service (I heard most of the staff are Koreans, and while they may not understand English that well, they were all pretty friendly and efficient), and feel that it is good value for the price. My only gripe is that I spotted one or two flies hovering about in the restaurant – which is something I don’t quite like. However I also found out that the management is aware of the issue (which apparently came with the premises) and has been actively working on this and spending a lot of time and money on solving it, so that’s good enough for me. One or two flies are fine to me as long as they don’t get too near the food and the place is in the midst of getting rid of them.
Also, some items are seasonal and they try to refresh their menu once in a while to keep regulars interested, and they have a monthly theme as well – when I went last week there was a ‘kimchi’ theme and so there was an extended selection of various kimchi types available for diners to sample. They also stated on their placemat that no MSG is used in their food, which is great, actually. I was kind of thirsty after the dinner though; perhaps the food did have a bit more of other types of seasoning instead.
Comparable to and I feel, even better than some international hotel buffets.
For more details and pictures, please visit my food blog Ingredients Of Happiness at: http://bit.ly/IOH_TodaiSG.
There's a wide variety of sushi. The flavors are very interesting however, it would be much better if they made the pieces smaller by putting less rice. The hot dishes were good especially the oxtail, beef ribs, baked mussels and salmon. Of course, the crabs, oysters and prawns on ice did not disappoint. I'm not much of a grilled meat enthusiast but my husband is and he said that the roast beef was okay. The fried items like calamari and various tempura were a bit boring though. Maybe it would help if they came with cold soba. Wasn't able to have pasta anymore as I wanted to leave room for desserts. Good decision as the desserts were just the right ending for our heavy savoury dinner. Most were in bite sizes or close so you can try everything without feeling too guilty. Also, they have a chocolate fountain for your skewered marshmallows. I even drizzled some of it over my soft serve ice cream. These all went perfectly well with my hot mocha. For the sugar averse, you can always opt for the cut fruits instead which were quite fresh.
This was an invited tasting in celebration of Todai's 4th Birthday in Singapore.
Todai is known for its seafood buffet and it is my first time trying it, enjoying not just the wide array of fresh seafood but also, birthday dishes around the world.
There was the Shoutao (or better known as "xiu tao" or "longevity peach buns") from China, and they are either plain or containing lotus paste within. It signifies long life and good health, hence making it a meaningful dish. I enjoyed the soft texture packed with sticky lotus paste that has the right amount of sweetness.
Following that, we had the Yi Mien, also from China. These springy noodles laden with seafood signify long life and prosperity.
Next, there is the Japchae from Korean, a noodles dish made from sweet potato, stir-fried with meat and vegetables. It was a dish meant for the king back in the 17th century. It was rather tasty, rather like the Chinese glass noodles .
Then we introduced to another dish from Korea, - the Miyeokguk, a nutritious soup made from wakame (seaweed). This dish is consumed by mothers who have just given birth for tonic value, but is also a delicious soup dish that brings about good fotrune to its consumers.
After that, we tried Oto from Ghana, a dish made from mashed yam and hard-boiled eggs. Todai replaced the yam with potatoes to give it more flavour.This velvety dish symbolises purity and fruitfulness.
The next birthday dish is Joll of Rice from Nigeria, a delicacy cooked with spices and seafood. It reminds one of bryani or paella, a popular dish in West Africa. I liked this rice dish with its unique tomato base.
Finally, a four-layered birthday cake from Russia, which bore uncanny resemblence to the currently trendy rainbow cakes. This sweet, chiffon cake was a beautiful conclusion to a hearty umami meal.
This review was delayed but I would still like to wish Todai a very happy birthday nonetheless. If you happen to drop by, remember to try their special birthday dishes!
More pics on http://www.estherxie.com/2015/03/birthday-dishes-from-around-world-at.html
One of my recommended buffet restaurants in Singapore for its wide variety of good food! Highlights were the seafood spread, the crab was fresh and tasty. In conjunction with their anniversary, they have also introduced a number of birthday dishes from around the world! Oto from Ghana, "Shou Tao" from China, "Yi Mien" , and others like "Miyeokguk" from Korea and Gollof Rice from Nigeria. Very meaningful, especially for birthdays! My fave is the rainbow cake representative of russia.
For the complete review, click here:
In line with the theme of their 4th Birthday, Todai brings you birthday dishes from around the world to complement their buffet line up.
From China, we have longevity noodle (Yi Mien) and longevity peach (Shou Tao). The noodle is very springy and flavourful. The broth used to cook the noodle are robust. Meanwhile the Shou Tao is soft and packed with red bean paste.
Korean Birthday dishes are represented by Japchae, a sweet potato noodles, stir-fried in sesame oil, vegetables and meat; and Miyeokguk (wakame seaweed soup traditionally consumed by women after giving birth due to iodine and calcium content). Japchae is thick, springy and slightly chewy. It has a robust sesame oil flavour and bind the ingredients well together. Don't let the clear looking broth of Miyeokguk fools you. It is robust and filled with the essence of beef.
Drawing inspirations from Ghana and Nigeria, Todai's Chef produced Oto (hard boiled eggs, yam and palm oil) and Jollof Rice (rice with coconut oil, fresh red chilli pepper and aromatic spices). Todai's Oto uses potatoes instead of Yam and incorporates seasoning close to the original Ghana version. For me it tasted like thick mashed potatoes with hard boil eggs, however the seasoning does not bode well with my taste buds. Jollof Rice suppose to be a close comparison to briyani rice in Singapore food culture. However, with the seafood and fresh cut chilli, it looks more like a Seafood paella. The prawns are fresh, the rice is flavourful, and tasted closed to nasi briyani. Watch out though, this dish pack heat.
Finally, a birthday dish will not be complete without a birthday cake. From Russia, 4 layer birthday cake. Russian version of rainbow cake, but with thicker cream in between. The cake is tasty, moist, but the cream can be a little too rich for some.
While the birthday dishes are unique, expect the staple dishes that you will normally find on Todai. Part of the cold dish consist of Sashimi, Alaskan King Crab, Oysters, Mussels and Prawns. These ingredients are fresh.
You can mixed your salads in the huge parmesan cheese bowl for added flavour, or proceed to the fantastic sushi selections. I always find their sushi rolls are creative and impressive. To name a few, crunch, spicy salmon, volcano & lion king. But when you are having buffet, you want to stay away the sushi until you sample the rest of the dishes.
If you still curious on what other dishes on offer in Todai buffet line and desserts, click here.
Comparing to my experience three years ago, it seems that the menu revamp in 2014 works quite well for Todai. A better ingredients are used and better execution. I left the place with more positive impression compare to the last. I'll definitely come back for more in the near future. Cheers!!
Thanks to HungryGoWhere and Management of Todai for the food tasting invitation.
For more details, please visit http://www.foodesteem.com/2015/03/todai-restaurant-singapore.html
This year, Todai is celebrating its 4th year birthday anniversary, and I am glad to be trying out some of the birthday treats gathered from several parts of the globe.
We were first served with two cold-platters, and mind you, one piece of each seafood is never enough. If you love oysters, Todai is supplying unlimited amount on every weekday dinner and all day weekend!
Japchae, is a Korean birthday dish, which is made up of sweet potato noodles stir-fried in sesame oil with vegetables and meat. The noodles taste like Chinese's cellophane noodles. Perhaps with the sesame oil, the noodle is smooth and sweet to slurp into your mouth.
Another Korean birthday dish, Miyeokguk. It is actually a nutritious soup that consists of high iodine and calcium content. While this soup is traditionally meant for women whom have just given birth for recovery, it is now also a birthday dish, signifying the food and nutrition supplied by mothers during the pregnancy period.
One of the popular birthday dish among the Chinese, Shoutao, which in mandarin is written as 寿桃. These buns are shaped like peaches, symbolizing long life and good health.
Yi Mein, also another Chinese dish. Similar to the Korean's Japchae, it is also known as the longevity noodle, calling upon a long and prosperous life. Ever remembering listening to hearsay that you need to slurp in the entire piece of noodle without breaking it?
A birthday dish from Ghana, Africa, Oto. Made of hard-boiled eggs, mashed potato and palm oil. Oto is a dish that is supposed to be used mashed yam instead of mashed potato, but Todai's trial and errors found mashed potato suits Asian's taste more, thus the substitute.
Jollof Rice from Nigeria. The mixture of coconut oil, fresh red chili pepper and aromatic spices, Jollof Rice authentically emit the flavour of African. I love the stickiness of the rice, just like the Chinese rice dumplings, and fresh prawns to go with the already-delicious rice.
I am sure this cake has been known to most foodies, and of course a kid's eye-catching dish. 4-Layer Birthday Cake from Russia. A birthday is not a norm to go without a cake or sort. Vibrant layers of colour that got my fork slicing for more despite the cream.
Todai is not just treating diners with their spread of birthday treats, but also celebrating it more with diners sharing the same birthday month! For the March babies, just get an isntant photo taken at Todai and you will receive a complimentary birthday cake (24 hours advance reservation)! Isn't that wonderful? If its not enough, Todai is also giving away a total of 5 passes which entitles you to enjoy unlimited buffet dining for 30 days consecutively! Of course, a minimum spend of $200 is required before you can take part in this incredible lucky draw.
For more details, please visit http://www.foodesteem.com/2015/03/todai-restaurant-singapore.html