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Eel Lunch Sets

I went through a phase where I was craving unagi and my aim was to find the best in Hong Kong. The best unagi I have eaten was of course in Japan. On our last trip there, which was probably 3 – 4 years ago, my last meal was in Tokyo and I had unagi with rice and it was absolutely divine… still to this day I remember the texture and the taste of the unagi… it was simply magnificent. Will have to go back there again… if I remember where it is!

Anyhow… Hubby is not a huge fan of unagi, so when I am having a quick lunch on my own, or with friends, I would have the unagi set lunch. I haven’t tried many, only at four different places – Ootoya (CWB), Ajisen Ramen (Central), Iori (CWB) and Sushi Kuu (Central).

What makes a good unagi? Good unagi combines a rich flavour with an appetizing texture, crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. I have heard that it’s the cooking process is what makes the eel both crisp and tender: firstly, the eels are grilled over hot charcoals, then steamed to remove excess fat, then seasoned with a sweetish sauce and grilled a second time.

In no particular order;

Ootoya (CWB)

Ootoya is located in the Shama building opposite Times Squares. Their speciality is actually donburi (rice topped with meat or fish), classic katsu (deep-fried pork or chicken) and noodles. I was also told that their Bluefin tuna with rice was one of their specialities! Unfortunately, I wasn’t craving for tuna / salmon like I always do.. I was craving for Unagi.

I ordered the Unagi Donburi set – which was grilled eel, marinated in soy sauce, rice, soup and salad. The sauce on the unagi was a little pale, however, it was satisfying rich. The salad, which was a small bowl of okra, cabbage, carrots and radish, was a great compliment to the eel. The soup was not your typical miso soup – I was told it was ‘homemade and no it’s not miso soup’. Overall, it was a pretty good meal!

The waitstaff was very tentative with my tea. I sat there for a while whilst reading my book and were not asked to leave. Mind you – it was rather late in the afternoon and was not peak lunch time hour. I thought if I sat for a bit I would crave for some dessert, alas no. I think I will definitely have to take hubby back so I can try more food.

Definitely worth giving it ago and the lunch sets will not break your wallet.

GA’s ratings: 7/10

Ootoya Restaurant

3/F, 8 Russell St,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ajisen Ramen (Central)

Chain of Japanese restaurant which can be found pretty much everywhere in Hong Kong. Their specialty is ramen, but again, I wasn’t craving ramen – it was a hot day and the last thing I wanted to eat was ramen! So ordered the unagi with rice and agedashi tofu (which is called fried tofu here!)

Three medium size unagi was placed in front of me, the eel was tender and moist. It was grilled and cooked to perfection.

The agedashi tofu was slightly battered then fried – the tofu was unbelievably soft – a little bit tasteless. There wasn’t enough sauce for the tofu, however, the unagi was perfect.

GA’s Ratings: 6.5 / 10

Ajisen Ramen

Basement Peter Bldg

59 – 60 Queen’s Road

Central, Hong Kong

Ph:+852 2521 4987

Iroha (CWB)

This place was recommended by a friend (@jasonbonvivant) and it didn’t disappoint. Came here after the lunch rush hour so didn’t really have to make a booking! Got the unagi set lunch – the unagi was absolutely flavoursome!

The set lunch came with salad, pickles and miso soup. The miso soup was quite ordinary I thought, but the unagi was definitely a winner! It was crispy and tender on the inside. My only gripe would be that it was a small eel! Would have been better if it was bigger!

Waitstaff was tentative. It was reasonably priced and fantastic for its value.

GA’s rating: 7.5 / 10

Iroha

2/F, 50 Jardine’s Bazaar

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2882 9877

Sushi Kuu (Central)

I would have to say that my favourite unagi lunch set would have to be from Sushi Kuu. Served in a bowl (as big as my head!), comes with a small bowl of udon and miso soup. The udon was soft and flavoursome, and the miso soup – tasty!

The unagi was served on a bed of rice and egg. The rice was flavoured with the same sauce as the unagi and the egg was moist and full of flavour. The eel was deliciously rich but not sickly, the egg and the rice was a great compliment.

Definitely my favourite and definitely satisfied the unagi cravings!

The most expensive out of the four, but it was worth every single penny!

GA’s rating: 8 / 10

Sushi Kuu

1/F, Wellington Place

2 – 8 Wellington Street

Central, Hong Kong

PH: +852 2971 0180

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