Same same but different, the chirashi don and bara chirashi don are both rice bowls topped with a variety of sashimi, but diverge in their treatment of the fruits de mer. Consider chirashi as the purer, unadulterated form of the two: pristine slices of sashimi daintily laid out over sushi rice. As for the bara chirashi don, the sashimi is diced and marinated, typically with soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar. The simplicity of the recipe and presentation of the chirashi don calls for greater attention to the quality of the cut and the freshness of the seafood, which also explains why it’s usually priced a little higher than a bara chirashi don.
$5 to $15
$15 to $20
Say cheap bara chirashi, and this is probably the first name that comes to mind. Seats for their omakase meals are still as elusive as ever, but Teppei's famous kaisen don can be readily had at five locations across town.
The cheapest bowl ($16) can be found at his Syokudo stands at Takashimaya and Millenia Walk, and prices peak at his Hanare buffet joint ($17.60), whose bara chirashi set comes with four all-you-can-eat sides. Either way, there’s no getting enough of the fat chunks of salmon, tuna, swordfish, ark clam and ikura and a gleam of seasoning that bury a small serving of rice beneath.
This cosy nook at China Square dishes out bowls of bara chirashi ($17) with minced tuna, salmon, swordfish, yellowtail, tobiko, shrimp roe, ikura and crunchy tempura crumbs. If you're in the mood for uni, add lobes of them on for $9. Each order is served with a salad and a miso soup.
Says who you can’t eat well on the cheap on Orchard Road? Tanuki Raw, owned by the folks behind Standing Sushi Bar, dishes out kaisen dons that are brimming with scallop, striped jack, sea bream, tuna, swordfish, salmon, tamago and ikura. Both the chirashi and bara chirashi are priced at $17.80.
$20 to $30
This unassuming sushi specialist next to Teppei gets its seafood straight from Tsukiji market twice a week. Knock yourself out with plump cuts of salmon, tuna, swordfish, yellowtail, mackerel, fresh and cooked shrimp and scallop, as well as tamago, tobiko and ikura. Miso soup is part of the deal, too.
Push past the heavy doors of this Purvis Street shop to fill up on the chirashi set of tuna, swordfish, yellowtail, tamago, unagi, and salmon roe. The serving size is generous, and you’ll be hard-pressed to finish the accompanying miso soup and watermelon wedges.