Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Man Man Unagi (Japanese Grilled Eel) in Singapore

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Most Singapore foodies would have heard of Man Man Unagi and many would have tried it before. Opened in 2015, Man Man was among Michelin's Singapore Bib Gourmand winners of 2017. Deterred by the long queues which hasn't abated since it opened, I tried Man Man for the first time only yesterday, together with three buddies who are big fans of Man Man.

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Man Man is set in a short linear park running parallel to Keong Saik Road in Singapore's Chinatown. During crazier days when the little eatery was overflowing with customers, many took away the unagi and picnic right there in the park. That is so cool - I mean it is both so cooling in the shade and it is such a great idea 😄

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A tub of live, less than 1 year old juvenile eels from Japan blow bubbles and greet customers as they step through the door.

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We came in at a minute before last order time to avoid the crush 😄 Inside Man Man, it is compact - I was knocking elbows with the diner next to me and can't help but overheard their conversation even though I am hard of hearing 😂

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Bar seats are my favourite restaurant perch.

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Here I can see chefs in action, hear the hiss when the grease drips into the fire below, smell the aroma of caramelised unagi sauce and feel the radiated warmth from the red hot coal grill, with my back to the crowd.

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The live eels are slaughtered at the shop (can you see the heads..? eeww... ). The eels are butterflied, dunked in house made unagi sauce and grilled over red hot coal till the outside is well browned and slightly crisp.

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Four of us, each of us had our own Hitsumabushi set (price $29.50+). The set consists of unagi on rice, unagi broth, soup, pickles and spices.

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A signature of Man Man Unagi is eating the grilled eel with raw wasabi root.

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Anyway...., I enjoyed my grilled unagi the usual way.

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Nicely grilled unagi, well browned with sauce outside and juicy soft inside the thick meat. The unagi was gently savoury sweet leaning on the sweet side. It was mild enough for me to taste the eel's natural sweetness which I like. The sweet boiled rice had nice tenderly firm texture and just the right moistness.

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My three buddies were busy grating their raw wasabi.

I was the only one eating my unagi just with rice (I was hesitant to join them as I wanted to keep my hands free and clean to take pictures).

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They mixed their unagi with rice, chopped scallion, dried seaweed, grated fresh wasabi and warm unagi broth.

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I finally relented and tried it too.

It was indeed a nicer way to enjoy unagi.

If I felt Man Man's unagi sauce leaned slightly on the sweet side, eating it with rice in light unagi broth moderated it considerably - it turned out well balanced with accents from the zesty mildly spicy fresh wasabi and a bit of green taste from the chopped scallion.

Nice nicer 😋

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Fresh raw wasabi is quite a mild spice. I can nibble off bits of wasabi without the biting spiciness shooting up my nose.

Come again? Certainly. Next time, I shall go for the large serving (as the $29.50+ serving wasn't quite enough even with shared sides of grilled eel liver & intestines, and a strip of braised pork belly).

Read more about the other live unagi place in Singapore - Uya at Wheelock Place 👈 click

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Restaurant name: Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
Address: 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, Singapore 089109
GPS1°16'43.9"N 103°50'28.6"E l 1.278853, 103.841270
Nearest MRT: Outram Park
Waze: Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
Tel: 6222 0678
Hours: 11:30am - 2:30pm | 6:00pm - 10:00pm (Sunday off)

Non Halal

Date visited: 12 Feb 2018

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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