Maki-San @ The Cathay

Hey guys! While trying to free up space on my phone I realised I haven’t blogged about Maki-San, so here goes!


Maki-San is a rather new (established in 2012) homegrown brand which that allows you to customise your own sushi and salad. The concept is similar to that of Subway. You can choose what ingredients to go into your sushi roll or salad bowl! However the amount of ingredients is determined by the price you pay.

For S$9.90, you’ll get Mega San which entitles you to choose 5 essential (out of 27) and 1 special ingredients (out of 8) while a $7.90 Little San only gives you 3 essentials.


I only tried the sushi so to be fair, I’ll only talk about the sushi. Salad another time!

I first knew about Maki-San through a school advertising assignment which I had to design a viral social media campaign (see portfolio). My course instructor is actually one of the shareholders of the sushi bar and one of my groupmates was totally raving about it. Since boyfriend and I are both sushi lovers, I figured I had to bring him to Maki-San, and at the same time for me to find out the unique selling point of it to aid in the design of the campaign.


The Maki-San ordering counter is smacked right at the edge of The Cathay basement (beside Eighteen Chefs) and you may even miss it if you’re not attentive enough. However if you have already set your mind on dining at Makisan, it’s actually not that difficult to find it as the dining area deco pretty much stands out from other nearby competing eateries. The walls are painted with a cheerful shade of blue and green, completed with portraits of illustrated sushi. I really love the shop layout for it makes me happy looking at the walls 😛

It is a self-service outlet (on the bright side, no service charge) and you write your orders on an order chit. Red pens and writing boards are also provided for your convenience but if I have my pencil case with me, I’d use my own highlighter pen instead to mark the boxes of my preferred ingredients. Trust me, the one preparing your sushi will thank you for that.


I always go for Mega San as I’m greedy I love to have more variety of ingredients in my roll. Furthermore, having just sushi for dinner is a commonplace for me so of course, I need a bigger portion of sushi! My must-have essentials are usually Shredded Cucumber, Parmesan Cheese, Boiled Egg, Steamed Ebi and Tuna Mayo (and then maxed out the 5 options hahaha). Boyfriend is a more adventurous person thus he would go for different ingredients each time he orders and his sushi always tastes better than mine no matter how carefully I customise them -_-


All the fresh ingredients!


After gathering all the ingredients you specified in the order chit, the “chef” hand-rolls the sushi. They have this machine specially to cut the sushi into equal pieces of 6.

As for my special ingredient, I keep telling myself to choose something else for my next order… but it eventually will still be Grilled Unagi (eel) because I’m a huge unagi lover! I tried smoked duck once and it was not bad as well!

My choice of sprinkle and house sauce never changes… It’s always Raisins and Wasabi Mayo. #iknowimboring and people are probably going to say that I have weird taste, but the raisins really work in my sushi. I had my doubts initially as well but damn, those raisins just give that additional oomph! in the flavours 😀 As for the wasabi mayo, I gotta thank my boyfriend for the recommendation because it also complements the taste. I usually avoid wasabi like the plague when it comes to eating sushi as it has this repulsive smell and after taste but for Maki-San, I’ll give it a chance!


There isn’t any indication on the box what sushi this is, so you have to literally take one piece out to see the ingredients yourself. Haha


Smoked duck and steamed ebi visible in this picture


Steamed ebi, boiled egg, shredded cucumber, kani stick (crab stick), salmon sashimi


Boiled egg, shredded cucumber and grilled unagi. I think I opted for Teriyaki sauce for this.

The sushi rolls come in a long rectangular box with a wallpaper-worthy-designed box sleeve. The sleeve is very nice but ever since I shifted to a smaller flat, I try not to bring stuff home unnecessarily, so I always refuse the covers. You can too if you think it’s a waste to dispose them after eating (and they’re usually as new as before because they’re barely touched by the sushi).. but no additional discounts will be given for being environmentally friendly yeah? 😀


5 different designs displayed at the cashier


2 random designs we both got on our first dine-in

Sliding bento box!

Sliding bento box!

Other than sushi, we’d also order some snacks! We only tried Tempura Enoki Mushroom and Tempura Calamari so far. Our verdict: the mushroom is kinda bland so we didn’t like it. But the calamari is not too bad, deserves a try! I’ll probably try Tempura Ebi another time.

Tempura Enoki Mushroom

Tempura Enoki Mushroom

Tempura Calamari

Tempura Calamari

Tempura Calamari


On the overall, the food is great and also quite affordable. Boyfriend has a constant craving for it and he mentioned that if Maki-San ever opens an outlet opposite his block, he’d eat it everyday. Maki-San, if you didn’t know, is also expanding overseas but I shall not reveal anymore details in case it’s not even supposed to be made public yet.

One complaint though – it only accepts cash. Not sure about the other outlet (The Arcade) but thanks to the convenience of NETS, I seldom carry cash with me anymore :\ so I always have to withdraw cash before heading to Maki-San which is quite a chore for me haha. (Plus the ATM machine at The Cathay ALWAYS runs out of $10 notes)

But the whole concept – including the brand positioning and image – appeals to me. I love how they cartoon their maki illustrations and use sushi-related puns in them. Their Facebook page is seriously very fun to look at. The overall idea is fresh and original but that’s not surprising considering that the founder and one of the main shareholders are from an advertising agency! 🙂

That’s all from me. Hope you enjoyed this entry 🙂

The Cathay
2 Handy Road
Singapore 229233
Operating hours: Everyday 11.30am-9.30pm

The Arcade
11 Collyer Quay
Singapore 049317
Operating hours: Mon to Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-2pm
Closed on Sundays

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