Food Review: Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
(located behind Keong Saik Road Main Street, in a open park area)
Man Man has always been the go-to place for Unagi in Singapore for many people. The restaurant is not exactly very big with about 43 seats inclusive of counter seats in total and there is always a queue when they open daily. If you can't queue or wait, consider doing a takeaway which doesn't require you to queue but millege of the taste may vary. The restaurant itself eludes a Japanese restaurant layout with standard Japanese condiments on the table. If you get a seat at the counter, you will be able to see the grilling of unagi live.
The condiments on the tables consist of mainly unagi sauce and pepper. I strongly recommend that you try all the condiments with your bowl to mix and match the best flavour for yourself. It's pretty common for you to add more sauce during the meal.
Unagi Liver (Kimoyki)
It's not the first time that we have visited Man Man and we had the eel liver last few rounds before. In the past, the liver was cooked to perfection with a good balance of charred and light liver taste. The eel liver is crunchy as well. For this round, the liver remains crunchy but the liver was cooked too charred and has a overly grilled blacken taste which wasn't very pleasant. Hopefulltly this is an one-time miss as we like the liver very much.
Hitsamabushi Unagi Rice
The Hitsamabushi Unagi rice has been my defacto choice whenever I visit Man Man although I would have gone for the double Unagi bowl which will give me plenty of Unagi pieces and rice. I had tried the double unagi bowl once and it's too much for me so having Hitsamabushi which is a mix of Unagi rice and soupy bowl is the best end result for me.
Firstly, the unagi is cooked with the special unagi sauce and the rice is lightly laced with unagi sauce as well. When mixed together, it gives a good balance of sweetness, saltiness and unami flavour of both fish and rice. When paired with wasabi and the pot of soup with the given seaweed flakes, it brings another dimension of flavour to the dish which makes it smoother and enable one to eat more by breaking the monotony of taste after a while.
The soup that came with the set comes with seaweed and Japanese fishcake, shaped in colorful ball. The soup is mediocre compared to the traditional ones I had in Japan which uses the eel innards and bones to cook and enhance the soup flavour.
A special mention of the wasabi must be given as Man Man uses fresh wasabi as condiments for their dishes. You get to hand grind the wasabi plant on your own which is an experience by itself but more importantly, freshly grinded wasabi gives a sweet flavour and has a less pungent taste which makes the whole dish very smooth and enjoyable.
We also had a bowl that comes with tamago. I think basically, we can probably skip that next round as the tamago was really standard fare and it's a little cold which i know can be a standard but it wasn't as enjoyable.
Kabayaki Tokutoku Unagi Eel
Price: $54.80 (full portion)
On top of the bowls we had, obviously the unagi quantity would not be enough so we got ourselves a full unagi portion for sharing. The Unagi sauce is good as usual but this is where we realized that the unagi can a little inconsistent in terms of cooking. While we understand that the fatness of the eel largely depends on the supply, the unagi was cooked with some pieces that are obviously overcooked with the edges being too charred and meat being tough while some came just nice with good charred crispy edges, smokey with succulent meat texture. I remember vividly on last few rounds, the standard was the same througout.
All in all, still our favourite place for Unagi rice in Singapore and we are hoping that Man Man will maintain the standard so that we can continue to have good unagi without going to Japan.
4V out of 5
1 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089109
Google Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/kEHV4LPfGJevmxys9
Along Keong Saik Road or public carparks around. Not really easy to get parking during peak hours but lots are available from time to time.
Outram MRT (Not exactly walking distance but can be achieved)
Mercedes Benz A200