In the recent year, Singapore has been sweep by the crazy Unagi craze with the one restaurant starting this wave. Man Man Unagi is the brainchild of Chef Teppei Yamashita who also owns other successful restaurants like Teppei Japanese restaurant, Hanare, Syokudo and Daidokoro. Man Man imports all their eel from the Mikawa Isshiki region; known for supplying the best freshwater eel in Japan and the kitchen is helmed by Chef Nakagawa who has more than 20 years in preparing Unagi
The restaurant is located at Keong Saik Street but the entrance is located at the garden between Keong Saik street and Bukit Pasoh street. The door is pretty small at an indiscreet corner with a rather minimal signboard. I will show the best way to get to Man Man with a map at the end of the post. If you arrive at the garden, the best way to locate the restaurant is to look out for the long queue.
The size of the restaurant is pretty small by Singapore standards but is pretty standard in Japan. The tables are set close to each other so this is definitely not a place for private conversations. There is also a small area of counter seats right in front of the cooking action where you can admire the great cooking skills of the team.
There is only 1 item on the menu and that is Unagi donburi in various different combos and sets. The most basic set is the Unatama at SGD 25.80 for a medium and SGD 32.80 for large. One of the most ordered set is the Hitsumabushi which is a set that comes with fresh wasabi, pickled vegetables and dashi broth. The large is priced at SGD 39.40 and the small is priced at SGD 29.50
The restaurant kills and the cook the eel in their open concept kitchen and every eel is grilled to perfection before serving to the customer. One of the best service they offer is the complimentary cold cup of barley tea served to you the moment you sit down at your table. This is the best thing you can have after waiting in queue in the scorching hot sun.
Every table also has 3 pots of special Unagi sauce. One is the sweet sauce, the middle is the Unagi sauce and the blue pot is the spicy sauce. All of the sauces are made from Man Man’s secret recipe.
I ordered the small-sized Hitsumabushi set that comes with a soup, medium rice with 2 big slabs of juicy grilled unagi, sliced green onions, fresh wasabi, seaweed, pickled vegetables and dashi broth. Unfortunately, when we visited, the fresh wasabi was out of stock and we were served pre mixed wasabi instead.
The unagi is unlike the usual unagi we see; the skin and the top of the eel is roasted till very brown and crispy but the internal flesh of the eel is still soft and tender. The skin has a very nice charcoal flavour and crisp.
There are 3 ways to eat the Hitsumabushi. The first will be just taking some unagi and rice in the bowl provided and taste the dish in its original flavours. The 2nd way is to take the same portion and add either one of the sauce and some wasabi and taste the dish with their special recipe sauce.
The 3rd way is to have the same and add in the dashi broth. Personally, I love the 2nd and the 3rd method. The 2nd method brings out the flavour of the dish better with the unagi sauce and the wasabi adds in a spicy kick. The 3rd method adds an additional layer to the taste buds with a savoury dashi clear broth sweetness that compliments the unagi and rice very well. I would recommend to try the dish in the different ways and experiment the ways you want by trying different combinations of the sauces and toppings and you will find your own favourite method of eating the dish.
This is the 2nd time I visited Man Man and it never fails to leave me craving for more after the first bite. I ordered a take out this round for my parents but I would suggest to only have it at the restaurant as the take out version turned soft and lost that crispiness which is the main attractiveness of the Man Man unagi.
This is the route I would suggest to take to Man Man. You can walk to beginning of Bukit Pasoh from the MRT station about 5 mins walk away or drop off at Bukit Pasoh from your taxi or Grab and walk to Man Man through the alley as per the map above. I have also discovered that the queue moves faster during lunch time as most of the patrons will eat quickly to make it back to work while the dinner time crowd takes longer therefore the queue moves slower. One point to note is that the restaurant only seats the customer when the full party has arrived so even if you are at the front of the queue make sure everyone is on time.
Address: 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, 089109
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm ( closed on Sunday)