[ Food Review — Fav hitsumabushi specialist in town! ] Who here loves unagi? There’re few things that beat the honeyed, smokey taste of eel, and frankly, it’s like having a slightly healthier version of char siew!

One of the places my family used to visit pre-covid for unagi was Uya. Before the fire incident, you could look into the kitchen and watch the chefs grill eel after eel in almost hypnotic synchronisation. (You got to peek at the live eels then too!) That, along with the view (and heat) of the charcoal pit really added to the experience.

This time, I brought certain someone and his dad there instead!

Uya is renowned for not just any unagi dish. It’s claim to fame is with its Nagoya-styled hitsumabushi. On first glance, it may look similar to unadon or unajyuu. But what sets hitsumabushi aside is the number of condiments present on your tray, along with the pre-cut unagi laid out in an ohitsu (wooden rice container) instead of a bowl.

This is where the magic begins. Not only do you get to enjoy the unagi in its traditional eel-on-rice way (1), you can season it with any/all/none of the condiments (2), before eating the remaining portion with dashi á la ochazuke (3)! If you want to go ahead and eat the entire portion as solely 1, 2 or 3, that’s totally fine too. The idea is that you get variety and autonomy — as long as it tastes and f-eels good for you, you’re good!

A certain someone and I opted for a large and normal hitsumabushi respectively, while his dad got the unagi rice box (basically an unajyu), of which the latter turned out to be quite a spectacle in itself.

To my relief, the food quality was still excellent, with the sticky sweet unagi charred crisp yet tender, leaving behind a distinctive omega-3 sleekness after each bite.

It was addictive.

The best part for me is when adding in the dashi — the broth softened the rich, heavy tones of the unagi and smoothened the edged textures, making the end of my meal a much lighter affair.

Our sides were fab too: The Rare Wagyu Beef Salad was refreshing; the Oyster Tempura was a mosaic of textures; the Unagi Egg Roll was fluffy and gentle; and both the dudes enjoyed the grilled liver and liver ponzu!