Chinatown is known for many a secluded treasure, from food to antiques. But one place that is worth weaving through the crowd for is Kazan Japanese Cuisine, located on the second floor of Chinatown Complex. What makes it stand out is its Unagi Set ($8) that is both piquant and pocket-friendly.
As locating the stall is a slight task, the only clue I can offer is to look out for a stall that is almost gleaming gold from its neon signage and proudly flashing its menu offerings. After walking in circles for a good five minutes, I finally spotted it.
First up, I dug into its star dish, the Unagi Set ($8), and was squirming in delight when I saw how generous a portion it was. It is definitely of a fillet size, which you don’t usually get at many established Japanese restaurants — at least not for that price!
The meat was tender, sweet and slightly charred, which made each bite an all-rounded one. Every set comes with a side of miso soup, and many that I’ve tried can, at times, get too salty, but this one hit just the right notes. Even the Japanese rice was fluffy and mildly sticky (which is how we love ours cooked!).
The other much-talked-about dish is the Ebi Curry Set ($5.50), that is served with four large prawns deep-fried to perfection, served atop a bed of Japanese rice and a side of Japanese curry.
If you’re usually one who hesitates ordering fried food, these ebi babies might make you change your mind; they were so crunchy and flaky that you could eat the entire prawn, tail included! The breading wasn’t overwhelming or oily either, so you can still taste the sweetness of the prawn.
The curry wasn’t too sweet, had a very subtle smokiness to it, and made us feel obliged to finish every last drop. I found the best way to enjoy the dish was to go for the threesome of ebi, curry and rice in one spoonful, and you’ve got yourself a dish that I promise you’ll have cravings for.
I enjoyed the first two dishes so much, that I caved and ordered a third — the Teriyaki Chicken Set ($5). As someone who seldom eats fried chicken, I was expecting too much batter and little chicken. But not here, no, no. The chicken remains the hero here, as it stayed juicy all while soaking up the drizzle of teriyaki sauce. In fact, the batter was so amazingly crispy, that it deserves to share the spotlight.
The next time you’re wandering around Chinatown and you can’t decide on what to eat, this has to be it. I realise it’s illogical to head to Chinatown for Japanese cuisine, but I promise you, it’s worth the hunt.
Expected Damage: $5 – $10 per pax