Shinkansen - Healthy, tasty lunch on the go

Shinkansen is 'bullet train' in Japanese and this 'lunch on the fast track' concept caters for the office lunch crowd here at this United Square joint. By the folks behind Standing Sushi Bar and Tanuki Raw, they do have another outlet too at Ocean Financial Centre (Raffles Place). Make-your-own salad bowls in the sizes of transit (the basic bowl with a base and 5 toppings), station (transit with 2 add-ons) and terminal (station bowl plus the choice of a meat) are available here.

The best thing about Shinkansen is the good variety of toppings, dressings and bases they offer. Healthy lunch yes, but it isn't your run-of-the-mill salad bar where greens are the only base you can go with.  There are various options such as soba, brown rice and sushi rice for the base, which sets it apart from the others.

Shinkasen Menu/Order Chit
If you can allow a little leeway in your diet/aren't restricting yourself, go for the refreshing soba noodle base. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat flour - known to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These noodles are a healthier alternative to rice with more fibre and definitely less carb-heavy than pasta. The soba here is light with a nice bite. Pair with any of the light dressings in store and you have got a winner.

The shop is more for takeaways, though there is a counter and 2 small tables for people who want to dine in. We arrived at 8pm on a weeknight, only to learn that they were closing. However, the owners were obliging and offered to still put together our salad bowls for us. They even went a step further to delay their closing so that we could dine in. Truly customer service at its best.

Tuna Tataki Terminal DIY Bowl ($12)
My choice of Terminal bowl was Tuna Tataki with a mixed greens base, broccoli, tamago, mushroom, pickled seaweed and kidney beans with the add-ons of feta cheese and sundried tomatoes. The ingredients were all fresh, but it is the sundried tomatoes that sealed the deal for me - every piece was a burst of savory, flavor-filled goodness in the mouth. It is a must-pick for the add-on. The tuna tataki was slightly disappointing, as it was pretty flat on taste and sliced a little too thin. I preferred my aunt's choice of smoked salmon more, which was more on par in taste. Her bowl of soba noodles with sesame plum dressing was delectable, and the cashew nuts she chose provided a nice crunch in every mouthful.

You can also help yourself to the wasabi and soy sauce at the side counters. The wasabi here packs a punch. The pungent spiciness of it shot up my nose immediately when I took a slightly more generous amount in my mouthful at first try. I nearly teared from it, but somehow because of it, I like their wasabi even more now. First-timers to this wasabi, take only a little bit to test your tolerance.

Tuna Tataki Bowl with mixed greens base
A general tip for everyone when it comes to DIY salads - choose toppings with contrasting textures ie; creamy vs crunchy with different flavor profiles as much as possible (sour and salty etc) and it will make a lot of difference to your salad experience.

Shinkansen may be a little bit on the pricey side for a salad bowl, but the quality of ingredients here do justify it, as does the taste. The waiting time for your food is also very short (~5 minutes at most) so it definitely is a good choice for 'lunch on the go', especially for the health-conscious class.

#B1-60A United Square S307951
Daily from 11am-8pm