Friday, September 01, 2017

Man Man Unagi @ Kheong Saik Road, Singapore

Good food in Singapore = Lining Up...

I've found the unfortunate fact about good food in Singapore is that it's likely there'll be a long line up involved (unless it's also very expensive/ unaffordable).

Many people don't seem to mind though, as evidenced by the long lines,... but me?
I hate lining up. HATE it.
Most of the time, it's not that the food isn't nice. It just ends up not being worth the (for example) 1 hour time spent lining up to get in/ buy it.

Man Man is yet another one of those uber popular places with long lines, but it was a rare occasion where we were out in the Chinatown area early on a weekday... So, we decided to give it a try. No surprise though: It was around 11.15am and there was already a line outside the restaurant (which opens at 11.30am).

Dreaded line up for weekday lunch...

Unfortunately for us, as we missed the "first batch" when they finally opened their doors*, we had to wait outside for a further 25 minutes before we got in.
(* They started letting people in, and by the time they reached about one party before us, the restaurant was full - argh...)

The restaurant is ridiculously strict about seating - they don't take reservations, and they absolutely will not seat you unless you have a full party.
(None of that "Oh my friend is just parking the car and on the way", stuff - they'll just skip you and seat the next party in line while you wait for your friend to arrive)

Interior of Man Man...

The interior of the restaurant is a bit cramped, but still fairly comfortable. Food options are pretty limited though - just their signature unagi (eel) with varying combinations of rice/side dishes, one kind of pork and one kind of beef, and some side dishes like Japanese style egg omelet.

Once we decided what we wanted, we ordered and received our meal really quickly (within 10 minutes of ordering).

I decided to try their signature Hitsumabushi (S $26.80+) as it was my first visit. It comes with their signature Unagi kabayaki, served on top of rice, with soup, Japanese pickles, chopped spring onions, nori (seaweed), fresh wasabi and a teapot of dashi broth.

Bird's eye view of the Hitsumabushi...

While I like unagi, it's often clammy, overly sweet and with a fishy aftertaste... but not at Man Man.
The Unagi there was amazing - tender sweet flesh, not overpowered by the sweet glaze, with a slightly crisp texture on the edges and delicious smokiness from the skillful barbequing.

Close up of the charcoal grilled eel...

Another highlight was the fresh wasabi served on the side...
It took a bit of effort to scrape it to an edible state but was totally worth it. The fresh wasabi was  mildly "spicy" and fragrant - not like the processed wasabi which is usually just hella spicy and nothing else.
Fresh wasabi...

Scrape, scrape, scrape...

They recommend that the Hitsumabushi be eaten in stages:
1) First quarter: Just the rice and the unagi,
2) Second quarter: Sprinkle with the unagi with nori and spring onions,
3) Third quarter: Eat the unagi with wasabi, and/or the variety of sweet, normal and spicy sauces, and
4) Lastly: Drown the rice and unagi, with the dashi broth and tadah you have a delicious ochazuke.

... but you just should just eat it however you like lah. :)

Chefs hard at work in the open kitchen...

It was such a good meal! Unfortunately, I'm still highly averse to lines, so I really don't know when I would go back there again. :(

So, it's: Good food, convenient location (near Outram Park MRT), fast service (once you get in the restaurant) BUT inhibitively long lines (up to 2 hours if you're unlucky!)....

Summary Information:
Man Man Unagi @ Kheong Saik Road, Singapore

Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat: 11:30 - 15:00, 18:00 - 22:30
PH: 11:30 - 15:00, 18:00 - 22:30
Closed: Sun

Phone: +65 6222 0678

Address: #01-01, 1 Keong Saik Road, 089109 Singapore


- Seth Lui
- Daniel Food Diary
- mitsueki ♥ | Singapore Lifestyle Blogger – Food, Fashion, Travel & Random News

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