Chef Tsukamoto Makotounadon holds a box of unadon, the Japanese name of a donburi dish, with grilled eel topped on rice. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]
Amaster grill chef makes his specialty sing at a quiet Japanese restaurant in Beijing.
Tucked in a quiet street in the north of Beijing's embassy area, a small Japanese restaurant called Missi Missi has recently climbed onto local foodies' bucket lists.
Missi Missi could have been dwarfed amid the myriad fancy upscale Japanese restaurants in the capital, but its unagi (freshwater eel) and an elderly Japanese master chef behind the grill quickly have made the restaurant a hot ticket.
Hailing from the Japanese city of Nagoya, chef Tsukamoto Makoto, 67, has spent more than 40 years grilling eel in Japan, and another eight years in China. He now has a reputation among Chinese eel lovers, who have given him the nick-name "Grandpa Unadon".Unadon is the Japanese name of a donburi dish: grilled eel topped on rice.
When we went there, Makoto was bent over the hot charcoal grill at the back of the restaurant, fanning filets of eel. He seemed reticent. When asked why he carries on grilling eel in China, he replied in Japanese, "I can find better eel here in China".
The small space, in modern white decor with gnarled wood decoration on the wall, can only hold some 20 diners. Toward the back, there is the open grill, and a narrow sushi bar area wraps around it, allowing diners to watch how unagi is made.