Tried and loved Man Man’s unagi rice bowls? More delicious char-grilled eel awaits at Unagiya Ichinoji and Uya Unagi
The latest Japanese food trend in Singapore? Unagi. We studied its health benefits, learnt how it helps women during their periods and now it’s time to hunt for places to satisfy our cravings.
Most Japanese restaurants here do serve unagi in some form, but we would rather turn to the specialists who have mastered the art of a perfectly char-grilled eel. One of the most popular ways of enjoying unagi is Hitsumabushi, a Nagoya-style unagi where the eel is chopped into chunks, served in a wooden tub, then enjoyed three-ways: on its own, with spices and condiments, and finally with the dashi broth.
And thanks to the increasing number of unagi restaurants opening in Singapore, there’s no longer a need to fly all the way to Japan to savour a comforting unagi don. If the queue at Man Man is too daunting, you can now get your unagi fix at Unagiya Ichinoji and Uya Unagi.
This two-month-old outlet was opened by one of the oldest and most famous unagi restaurants in Tokyo, Miyagawa Honten. The secret behind the success of this 125-year-old unagi specialist? Excellent grilling techniques and its special sauce, whose recipe has been passed down for four generations, so you can expect nothing less for its first overseas outlet.
Other than the signature Hitsumabushi (from $19.80), Unagiya Ichinoji offers two special versions of unagi don – Seiro Mushi ($19.80) with crepe-like kinshi tamago, and Mamushi Donburi ($18.80) for mentaiko lovers. They accept reservations on weekdays, so call ahead to avoid disappointment.
Where: 01-05 Riverside View, Robertson Quay
Info: Visit their Facebook page or call 6732-1970
Uya Unagi Restaurant
Conveniently located in Wheelock Place at Orchard Road, Uya Unagi Restaurant gets its eel supply by a wholesaler in Nagoya and is headed by a chef with experience working at the city’s top unagi restaurants. The tare (basting sauce) here is less sweet compared to its competitors – great for those who prefer a milder taste.
Definitely share the Hitsumabushi ($35++ for medium, $48++ for large). For an even more nutritious meal, go for the Healthy Unagi Rice Bowl ($29), which comes with sous vide egg, natto and okra.
Where: 501 Orchard Road, #02-15/16 Wheelock Place
Info: Visit www.uya.sg or call 6732-1096
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
When it comes to unagi rice bowls, Man Man in Keong Saik resonates with most of us since it was the first unagi speciality restaurant to open in Singapore. Here, live eels are flown in from Aichi Prefecture and grilled over a charcoal pit in their glass-fronted kitchen before they are served to you covered in their secret sauce.
You won’t be disappointed by the Hitsumabushi ($26.80+), which is traditionally consumed in three steps – first with rice, then spices, and finally pouring in the dashi. Trust the Michelin Bib Gourmand win. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations, so if you dread queuing in the hot sun, head over to their second outlet at Duo Galleria in Bugis.
Where: 1 Keong Saik Road #01-01 and 7 Fraser Street, Duo Galleria #01-48
Info: Visit their Facebook page or call 6222-0678