In the Kitchen: Chef Masakazu Ishibashi of Sushi Ichi Singapore

Sushi Ichi Singapore, a branch of the award-wining Tokyo-based Ginza Sushi Ichi has recently relocated from its former location at Scotts Square to Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel in Orchard, continuing to build on edomae style sushi with revamps to the menu by Executive Head Chef Masakazu Ishibashi.

Sushi Ichi Singapore at Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel in Orchard

Sushi Ichi Singapore - Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Orchard - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Edomae: A traditional style of sushi making in the 1800s where Chefs would use a variety of seafood preservation methods such as aging, marinating, salting, as well as boiling and grilling.

Chef Masakazu Ishibashi of Sushi Ichi Singapore

Sushi Ichi Singapore - Chef Masakazu Ishibashi 2 - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Chef Masa shares with Gourmet Adventures his tips on sushi making, and the art of aging fish.

How many years have you been learning the art of sushi making?

I started learning to make sushi from my father (who is a sushi chef) when I was 10. I would be in the kitchen every day after school. I started learning to peel prawns and clean clams, before making chawanmushi and finally, cutting fish. Even after 25 years of making sushi, I am still learning and refining my techniques. Continual learning is essential for a chef.

What do you feel is the “perfect” fish to rice ratio?

The perfect fish to rice ratio is when there is sufficient fish and rice when eating sushi, that they are finished together. One should never be left with either (fish or rice) on its own.

Any tips for sushi making?

Sushi rice is a very important part of making sushi – it needs to be the right consistency. It should not be too starchy (that individual grains of rice cannot be seen), or too dry that it is not moldable, therefore it is important to choose the right type rice.

The ratio of fish to rice is also something to pay attention to. There is no exact measurement to getting the right ratio of fish to rice. It is based on years of experience and dependent on the individual’s hand size. The best tip I can give in this aspect, is when you have manage to make the ‘perfect sushi’ (when the fish and rice is finished together), recall how the sushi felt in your palm and continue to use that ‘feeling’ as a guide.

Edomae sushi at Sushi Ichi Singapore

Sushi Ichi Singapore - Sushi - Review by Gourmet Adventures

What determines the fish aging process?

When you age tuna, you must consider the size of the fish. The larger the tuna, the higher its oil content – hence, the longer it will take for its meat to aged evenly and softened.

How the fish is caught is also a factor. Tuna that is are caught with fixed nets are usually aged for a shorter period of time as opposed to those caught by boat fishing and long lines. The reason for this is that Japanese fishermen tend to catch fish using nets during winter and spring, which are usually smaller in size, therefore requiring a shorter aging period.

Tuna caught by boat fishing require slightly less time to age than those caught by long lines. This is due to the fact fish caught by long lines tend to put up a fight with fishermen when it is being pulled into the boat, hence increasing the temperature of the fish and making it drier, therefore requiring less time to age. On the other hand, fish that are caught by long lines are kept in the cool seawater for a longer period before brought back to shore, hence requiring a slightly longer aging period.

What can guests look forward to at Sushi Ichi?

Coming to Sushi Ichi is like coming to watch a performance, where our chefs are the ‘actors’ – combining the sound of cooking with precise movements. Our Chefs are trained to engage with guests, and connect them to understanding the food so that it becomes a transformative dining experience.

Read our review on Sushi Ichi Singapore here.

Sushi Ichi Singapore, #01-04 Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Rd., 6235-5514. Open Tue-Sat noon-2:30pm; 6-11pm, Sun 6-10pm.

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Categories: Fine Dining, Hotel Dining, Interviews, Japanese, New & Noted, Omakase Menus


  1. Award-winning Tokyo-based Ginza Sushi Ichi Relocates Its Singapore Outlet to Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel at Orchard | GOURMET ADVENTURES - December 7, 2015

    […] Read Chef Masa’s tips on the art of sushi making here. […]

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