Home > Food & Drink > Dining > Do you even swallow? What is shirako and where to try it in Singapore
Do you even swallow? What is shirako and where to try it in Singapore

As the northern hemisphere transitions into the colder months, certain delicacies appear. From Japan, one of them is shirako, or milt, perhaps a more palatable name for fish sperm sac. Whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious.

Typically in season from October to February, shirako is the male equivalent to caviar. It comes from wild caught fish like cod (tara in Japanese), whose testes are harvested from the belly, cleaned and portioned for consumption.

Tara, or cod (Image credit: Shizuoka Gourmet)

Shirako can be prepared in multiple ways. It’s most commonly blanched and serve with a citrus based sauce like ponzu, along with shiso leaf and silvers of Japanese leek for contrast. Other forms include pan searing, deep fried like tempura and on top of sushi. Regardless of how it’s cooked, fans of the dish hail its soft, meltingly creamy texture.

In Singapore, shirako can be found on the menus of seasonally focused Japanese eateries. In izakayas, it usually appears on the special menu. As part of a multi course omakase experience, it’s served as an appetiser. We round up eight restaurants where you can find shirako in Singapore, as well as one online retailer that sells it fresh for you to cook at home.

Check out the list below on where to eat shirako in Singapore.

Dosukoi x Donpachi is an izakaya in the basement of Cuppage Plaza. It’s a lively place with a mostly Japanese clientele that can feel like a downtown Tokyo bar – a mini holiday, if you will. The shirako here comes in three forms – battered and deep fried tempura style (S$19.80), blanched and topped with ponzu (S$14.80) or pan seared (S$14.80). Reservations are recommended.

Mondays to Sundays, 4pm to 11pm

B1-23/24/25 Cuppage Plaza, 5 Koek Rd, 228796 google map
6733 6847

Shinzo, or Heart, is an omakase restaurant in Clarke Quay. Helmed by chef Patrick Tan, who has over 40 years of experience as a sushi shokunin (sushi artisan), the eatery focuses on affordable sets (S$80+ to S$198+) that changes according to seasons. He currently serves shirako as an appetiser course, a dainty little dish with a zest of ponzu.

Mondays to Saturdays, 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10.30pm

17 Carpenter St, Singapore 059906 google map
6438 2921 / 9815 7186

3 /9


Shiraishi specialises in Edomae style sushi, from lunch sets with soup and dessert to a kaiseki course with appetisers, sashimi, wagyu and grilled or fried dishes. They also offer a la carte seasonal items like the kumoko kobuyaki (grilled cod shirako with konbu) and kumoko ponzu (cod shirako with ponzu sauce).

Mondays to Sundays, 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 9.30pm. Call to book.

7 Raffles Ave, 03-01/02, Singapore 039799 google map
6338 3788

Kyoaji, which means Taste from Kyoto, is led by executive chef John Phua. With over 30 years of experience in Japanese cuisine, Phua offers omakase courses that kick off with a selection of sushi and sashimi to hot dishes off the grill. Offerings are based on seasons, such as this elegantly presented shirako with ponzu and lime.

Mondays to Sundays, 11.30am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm

111 Somerset Rd, #02-05/06, Singapore 238164 google map
6694 4068 / 6694 3058

5 /9

Sushiro Petit

Sushiro Petit is a takeaway concept at Great World City by the popular Japanese sushi chain. They offer rice bowls, a la carte items and sushi platters, like seasonal shirako and ankimo (monkfish liver) rolls. Available for a limited time only, and the popular dishes get snapped up fast, so go early.

Mondays to Sundays, 11am to 10pm

#B1-129 Great World, 1, Kim Seng Promenade, 237994 google map
Shirako and ankimo platter

6 /9

Bincho Singapore

Bincho is a yakitori restaurant in Tiong Bahru and Dempsey Road run by chef Asai Masashi. Besides grilled dishes, they have chanko nabe, a hearty hot pot traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers. It’s served with an assortment of ingredients including cod shirako, vegetables and tofu, which you cook in an umami fish konbu broth.

Bincho at Hua Bee
78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078
Tuesdays to Sundays, 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to midnight
6438 4567

Bincho at Min Jiang
7A &, 7B Dempsey Rd, 249684
Tuesdays to Sundays, 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to midnight
6972 7328


In the belly of Palais Renaissance is Ishinomaki, an izakaya with a strong sake list. Their Hokkaido shirako has a rich, velvety texture and a subtle brininess, which is enhanced by a refreshing ponzu sauce. The restaurant recommends pairing it with Utou Daiginjo Yamadanishiki, a sophisticated Aomori sake that complements the soft savouriness of the milt.

Mondays to Sundays, 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

390 Orchard Rd, #B1-02/02A/03, Singapore 238871 google map
6737 1065

8 /9

Kazu Sumiyaki Restaurant

Kazu Sumiyaki is a yakitori restaurant in Cuppage Plaza. Opened since 1993, the beautifully plated dishes range from fresh and marinated sashimi to simmered turnip with mushroom. Also on the menu now is shirako miso zuke, or milt marinated with miso.

Tuesdays to Sundays, 6pm to 8pm

5, #04-05 Koek Rd, Cuppage Plaza, 228796 google map
6734 2492

9 /9

If you want to cook shirako at home, online Japanese groceries retailer Zairyo should be your destination. They currently sell fresh tara shirako, or cod milt, which is flown in from Toyosu Market every few days. Zairyo recommends cutting it into bite size pieces, blanching it for 30 seconds, then topping it with ponzu, chopped leeks and grated daikon with chilli pepper.

Tara Shirako (500g)
Jethro Kang
Jethro enjoys wine, biking, and climbing, and he's terrible at all three. In between them, he drinks commercial lagers and eats dumplings.
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