With all the izakayas found along the fringes of Little Tokyo, Futago Ya’s unsuspecting shop would be easily missed unless you already know what to look for: a pair of smiling onigiris. Charming the neighbourhood with its small, yet quaint abode, Futago Ya plates up Japindo (Japanese Indonesian) dishes, from fusion udon to onigiri wraps to the delight of hungry frequenters.
This family venture started more or less incidentally by siblings Yuki, Yuka and Kogi, who are of Japanese descent. Growing up, the three remembered having homemade onigiris as bento wrapped by their mother whenever they played softball, a favourite sport shared within the family until this day. Soon after, the three started taking orders from friends who were intrigued by the Japanese comfort food, marking the humble beginnings of Futago Ya.
It was only last year that the shop set up its flagship in Blok M, but a row of loitering diners has already become a common sight. Here, the shop dons a bar seating and an open kitchen concept similar to Japanese ramen stalls, where the ambience is made personal with the shop’s own quirk of softball memorabilia—take the bat by the sink or the jersey uniforms formerly used by the siblings proudly hung on the wall.
But it’s the shop’s line-up of refashioned Japanese food with a dash of Indonesian flavours that won over many: take for example the Cakalang Onigiri, known as the skipjack tuna usually served in Minahasan cuisine, or the Creamy Miso Udon, a delectable blend of miso and cream inspired by Sop Kaki Kambing, that stirred up an unexpected success. Then, wash it all down with Mugicha, made by simmering roasted barley grains that is a refreshing change from the all-too-familiar ocha.
By the stream of customers that frequent Futago Ya, the culinary fusion, while not novel, can be excitable with the right execution. Patrons can toy away their time while waiting for their meals, such as playing with Japanese flashcards or impulsively reading up the Japanese dictionary and possibly go home with a few phrases. The sense of affability is kept intact, and by committing to their straightforward menus and friendly overtone, Futago Ya is aiming for another home run across the city and even beyond.