What do Okinawa and Singapore have in common other than a tropical vibe alike? One of the answers could be: good meat, at affordable prices, by Teppei X 29.
When I first started to live in Singapore, Teppei always came up as a topic whenever my friends and I talked about food, as they know I looove my Japanese food and good meat. And Teppei is known for its really good quality meat line-up either in its super popular omakase restaurant at Tanjong Pagar or its food stall at Takashimaya.
But first let’s take a look at the brand name. Ever wonder why 29? in Japanese, 2 is pronounced as “ni” and 9 as “ku”. That’s right, that makes “niku”, which means… meat.
But we will come back to that in a short while. Now let me reminisce a little about my resort holiday just a short week ago.
I had a wonderful 3D2N short vacation to Okinawa just before CNY after an 8-year absence, and it brought back lots of fond memories. Okinawa always remains a mysterious favorite for me even after all the prefecture-conquering – mainly because of how un-Japan it is. What’s so surreal about it is that it felt like a medley of Southeast Asian street charm X tropical resort vibe X exotic oriental mystery, and the best thing is that, it is still Japan.
I was moving about mostly on my own, shopped back-and-forth till I dropped at Kokusai-dori street, gave due respect and support I can to the recently (partially) re-opened Shuri Castle, cosplayed as a Ryuku princess in the most exaggerated color combination I could find, and tried reliving every single remote nostalgia I had for Okinawa 8 years ago, including hunting down the best so-ki soba and eating goya champuru at every chance I had.
And one of the highlights, as you might have seen on my Instagram, was my visit to Kokusai-dori Norengai at Kokusai-dori Street.
Kokusai-dori Norengai is a freshly opened food street just last December, tucked right in of the most iconic street at the heart of downtown Naha which every single visitor would make a compulsory stop at – Kokusai-dori Street.
As the street runs 2km long, it might be difficult to pin-point exactly where the establishment is located. Hint – it is nearer to the end at Makishi Station and not the other end at Kenchomae Station (Prefectural Office Station), and it is on the same side as Starbucks so just walk along and you will find this gigantic, theme-park looking building with purple noren curtains. If all else fails, you can always rely on your GPS.
In fact, this place may as well be a food theme park!
Basically, the food market is separated into 2 areas: Kokusai-dori Yokocho and Naha Ichiba.
Kokusai-dori Yokocho (国際通り横丁)
The area from this signboard onwards, is Kokusai-dori Yokocho, where you can find an array of restaurants from izakaya to udon shop. A ramen street will be opening soon at the basement, so look out for it too.
The retro interior is an attraction in itself and even though it’s spanking new, lots of effort is made to give the entire food street a nostagic Showa era charm.
You don’t even need Instagram filters for it, the signboards, lanterns and lighting exude their own filters!
Naha Ichiba (那覇市場)
Another area in the building is called “Naha Ichiba” (ichiba means “market”), and here you can actually buy fresh meat and seafood either for consuming on the spot or bring them home!
What’s better, it’s a food court concept – meaning that you can purchase anything from any shop you like and bring to your seat to savor, which is perfect for group dinners as you are able to sample all sorts of different fresh local delicacies.
There are shops featuring fresh sushi, seafood, meat and more. You will want to bring friends, if any. If not, just go very, very hungry. That’s what I did.
Mizutomi Meat Shop
The highlight of the highlight is Mizutomi Meat Shop at Naha Ichiba area – produced by Teppei X 29 (and in fact the shop was called Teppei X 29 before they recently changed it to “Mizutomi”), a meat supplier bringing in a wide varieties of high quality meat from within Japan and overseas, including branded Japanese wagyu!
You can of course pick your choice of meat and have it served just the way you like.
You can have it freshly grilled for you in the kitchen or bring it over to your own table for self BBQ.
The highlight of the highlight of the highlight, is, its 300g steak for JPY1000.
I had to ask 3 times if it was really JPY1000. I mean… I have had my fair share of steaks in many different countries and JPY1000 is just a little ridiculous. Because that’s like… S$12. For proper, hot, sizzling, freshly grilled, steak.
Here it is!! My 300g medium steak served with sliced onion, sweet corn and fried garlic chips on the hot plate. Just the perfect portion! You can of course also order white rice to go with it.
Even better? Have a sake tasting set to go with it. There’s a sake bar serving all sorts of favorite alcoholic drinks including made in Okinawa Awamori if you prefer sampling a local favorite.
I’m not done yet! It’s time for yakiniku. ^^
Pick your favorite parts of meat (pork is also available!) and bring it to your table for a BBQ feast!
Watch my short video on Kokusai-dori Norengai:
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【Must-eat in Okinawa!🥩】 Here’s one of my top recommendation if you come to Naha, Okinawa! Here I am at Norengai, a food street tucked right along the Kokusai-dori street where you can order a tantalizing array of Okinawan gourmet and today we are having lots of meat!! @ok_steak by Mizutomi Meat Shop in Norengai is the highlight as you can find super good quality branded wagyu from all over Japan if you are in the mood to splurge, but if you are looking for a pocket-friendly lunch they have other varieties of steaks priced as low as ¥1000 for 300g😱😱😱 that’s like S$12 🤯 and it’s sooo good ok despite the shocking price!! You can pick the meat you like and have it freshly grilled for you or if you prefer, BBQ on your own too, your call! ^ – ^ Bookmark this place for your next trip to Okinawa!🌺 I will be writing a full blog post on it soon too so stay tuned! #cheesieinOkinawa
Good news for tourists who want to maximize the sunlight for outdoor sightseeing, or travelers who often get hit by midnight hunger pangs – Kokusai-Dori Norengai opens until 4am! That’s pretty crazy even for Japanese standard.
Address: Japan, 〒900-0013 Okinawa, Naha, Makishi, 2 Chome−2−30
Opening hours: 11am-4am
Not planning an Okinawa trip any time soon? No worries, you can find Teppei right in your own neighbourhood!
Teppei X 29 @Takashimaya
Head to Takshimaya’s basement food hall and you will find Teppei’s pop-up meat stall selling a variety of imported Japanese meat. I was there just in time for the Christmas fair which I luckily won myself a pair of wagyu skewers for free in the lucky spin!
They will be holding special festive promotions from time to time so make sure you don’t miss them out.
One of their signature beef is Hitachi beef from Ibaraki prefecture.
Depending on the depth of your bank balance, there are affordable kiriotoshi (shaved meat) and super premium thick cuts that will run you hundreds of dollars. Your call.
I’m sure most of you have heard about “Kurobuta” pork before, it’s one of Japan’s premium, silky pork that I really love. You can find them here at Teppei too.
The chef will be happy to help you with the cooking part!
If you don’t even have time waiting for the made-to-order sizzling process, note that they also have takeaway bento so you can just grab a box on the way to work for lunch!
With chef Tamura san!
Located within the same Takashimaya basement food court is Kinton, a food stall offering popular Japanese cuisine such as donburi (rice bowls) and other menu with a local twist.
This place is also collaborated with Teppei and just like Kokusai-dori Norengai, you can find super affordable treats here for as low as $6!
My recommendation is the top selling gyodon (beef bowl) at only $8.
Tamura san making my juicy bowl of gyodon.
By the way, Kinton is the only stall in the entire food court that’s managed by a Japanese chef so you can rest assured that the quality is top-notch while remaining super pocket-friendly.
While the price cannot beat local gyodon chain stores in Japan, it’s pretty value-for-money given how close to the authentic gyodon it tastes!
Visit Teppei X 29!
Whether an adventure in the sunny island of Okinawa or the equally sunny hometown Singapore, you can be sure to find a tantalizing, value-for-money meat fare that will leave your tummy sighing in satisfaction.
Remember to place Teppei X 29 in Singapore and Mizutomi Meat Shop Kokusai-Dori Norengai in Naha, Okinawa on your list of must-eat!