COCONUTS HOT SPOT — We don’t know about you, but eels in captivity look pretty icky — all black, slimy and slithery in foamy water. They’re really not an appetising sight. Or smell, for that matter.
But damn if they don’t taste hella good after being prepared by the masterful hands of a seasoned Japanese chef.
There’s really not much else at new Keong Siak joint Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant except unagi, unagi and more unagi. High quality unagi at that too, especially since the restaurant gets its supply only from Isshiki— a district that’s been farming eels since 1904. Unlike normcore eels, these bad boys are fat, possess softer texture and offer richer flavours.
If you can’t tell by now, unagi is the restaurant’s field of specialty. Specifically, charcoal grilled Japanese unagi artfully prepared by Chef Nakagawan-san — a man who probably dreams of the fish since his days working in an unagi shop in the Mikawa district for over 20 years.
But it ain’t a pretty sight seeing him and his fellow chefs work in the kitchen. At Man Man, their handiwork is open for all to watch behind a glass window — meaning you’ll get to see the cooks kill, slice, gut, skewer and put the bloodied-up eel cadavers over a charcoal fire pit. They ain’t fucking around here.
The end result is a bloody masterpiece. After dipping the skewers inside tare sauce and grilling the unagi to the optimal amount of char, they’re ready for serving. You’d think such freshness comes with a price, but nah — they’re relatively wallet-friendly, especially considering that level of quality.
The best way to experience Man Man is through the unatama don set meals that come in small ($18.60), medium ($25.80) and large ($32.80). Alongside super-delicate unagi that melts with lush flavours in your mouth is the rice, tamagoyaki, soup and pickles. If you’re some kind of unagi purist, there’s the shirayaki ($27.80) that has the fishes untarnished by tare (they’re still seasoned with salt, don’t worry). Fill the party in your stomach with sweet cocktails as well — they go at $12.80 each.
All in all, one of the best spots in the city to get your unagi fix. Trust us, that squeamish feeling while watching those black eels getting straight up butchered will be gone once you put those pieces of charred gold in your mouths.
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant is at 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, 6222 0678. Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-10.30pm.