Sunday, July 16, 2017

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant - A Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant by Teppei @ 1 Keong Saik Road [Singapore]

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant was strongly recommended by two foodie friends and i was actually keen to check it out until i saw the horrifying video posted by ieatishootipost!

By the time my nerves were soothed (a few months later), Man Man was already placed under 'Bib Gourmand' by the highly acclaimed Michelin guide! Although it wasn't equivalent to a star rating, the news still attracted a lot of attention from food-crazy Singaporeans.

I arrived at 6.00 pm and the queue was already 50-person long. Half an hour later, our spot moved just a few feet forward and the line from the restaurant's main door passed more than the 100-person mark!

We can only thank our lucky stars that it didn't rain as there's no shelter! The weather that day was actually pretty good with a light breeze and we didn't have to face the glare from the setting sun.

Would you want to guess how long were we in the queue? Two hours; from the daylight to moonlight! Kudos to both my companions who don't take kindly to queues yet accompanied me for this eating expedition even though they already had Man Man before!

First thing to greet us when we entered - the tanks that housed the high quality freshwater eels imported from the Mikawa Isshiki region in Japan! Frankly, i don't wish to see that as it would make me recall the ieatishootipost video.....

Got seating at a good location as it would enable me to take a photograph that would allow you to gauge the size of the restaurant; i didn't count as i was too hungry but from the picture, i guess it can seat around 40 persons?

Those who wish to see the 'action' can consider the counter seats; you would see the entire process from killing, grilling and finally, the finished product. Not for the faint-hearted.

As mentioned in the subject, Man Man is brought to us by Chef Teppei Yamashita; the same man who gave us what's rumoured to be the cheapest omakase in Singapore. We even bumped into one of their staff members who were from Teppei; the lady in photo number 4 from here!

Order was taken before you enter the restaurant and it's now a waiting game while sipping the free flow ice tea to momentarily fool my hungry tummy! It didn't help the hunger when the entire atmosphere was enveloped in the smoky aroma of grilled unagi; smelt like bak kwa in my honest opinion.

Large Hitsumabushi
It was a short yet agonizing wait of about five minutes; nevertheless, my large hitsumabushi was finally here with a high anticipation to reveal the covered treasures.

There were so much unagi but my friends advised against ordering the usual hitsumabushi unless you are a very small eater. I am not considered a small eater even though i don't like taking a lot of carbohydrates. *eyeing the bed of rice with suspicion*

A real wasabi stem that you can grate yourself for the spicy, numbing paste. You might wonder what's the role for the wasabi stem, the chopped up seaweed and the spring onions. The answer shall be given soon.

Three ways to enjoy hitsumabushi (which differs from our typical unagi don) and I share them in this blog; (1) eat it as it is in the typical unagi don style, (2) eat it with wasabi, seaweed and spring onion and (3) eat it with dashi broth.

First Way - Eat It Normally
Take a quarter section of the don, place it in the smaller bowl provided and eat it the way you would for any unagi don. I put in a spoonful into my mouth and it was mind-boggling delicious; what have i been eating all this while?! The glazed, caramelised skin featured a lightly charred crisp that's irresistible and the whole package was literally amazing bakwa in way more tenderer, meatier format!

Second Way - Add Wasabi & Others
I couldn't wait to try the second way in case another surprise was waiting for me. Take another quarter section, place it in the now-empty bowl and add in the necessary.

By the way, please do not be over-confident by dumping everything into the bowl! Do it according to your own comfort level; for example, if you are not a wasabi lover, just grate a bit will do.

Mix them up and be intrigued by the interesting flavors that complemented the unagi; the taste of the sea from seaweed, the spiciness from the dash of grated wasabi and the freshness from the spring onions. Pretty good although if i have my way, first way is still the preferred option.

Third Way - The Soup Form
Who would have thought that unagi don can be eaten in such a way?! By itself, the dashi broth wasn't quite appetising and i thought this method would be a waste of the exquisite unagi! Oh well, never try, never know; a quarter section into the small bowl again and this time, pour the dashi broth from the tea pot that was served together with the rest.

I can fully understand why my friend likes this way so much; by combining them, there was an additional sweetness that's freakish addictive! It's like drinking a tasty bowl of home-cooked soup that's warming to both the tummy, and the heart!

Three quarters had been used and the decision to use the last section would be your call. Out of the three ways that i had shared; which one entices you the most?

My decision: the third way of course!

Shirayaki
Unglazed grilled unagi seasoned with just salt - without the signature sauce, this didn't create any impact and for the price, we should have ordered the normal hitsumabushi.

Tried dipping it in the soy sauce and no, it didn't improve. Since it was quite pricey, we die-die also must eat up everything! Food waster, we are not; except when it comes to carbohydrates.

It was only when we cleaned up everything that i took a closer look at the three tea-pots next to me; sweet sauce, spicy sauce and unagi sauce. Bloody, i should have poured any of them onto the shirayaki to enhance its palatability!

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Location
1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01,
Singapore 089109

Map

As above.

Operating Hours
Mondays to Saturdays (Lunch) - 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Mondays to Saturdays (Dinner) - 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm
Closed on Sundays

Menu
As above

Pricing
Large Hitsumabushi - S$35.80
Shirayaki - S$24.80
(Subject to GST, No Service Charge)

Additional Information
Those who couldn't wait in line could opt for takeaway. However, i am unsure if you could still eat it in the three ways as described above.

Want to know what you have been eating? You may refer to the glass tank that's opposite the cashier counter. Hm... i thought the eels we had were of a different colour. 

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