Unagi — Japanese Traditional Eel
An ugly and mysterious fish
I believe that eel is eaten in certain other parts of the world beyond Japan, but it is by no means common everywhere. It’s certainly true that with that snaky body and slimy skin, they are not the most appetizing sight!
As well as being bad-looking, eels are mysterious creatures too: very little is actually known about their ecology, which means that we still lack the know-how to raise them exclusively on farms.
In Japan, we have long believed that eating eel wards off exhaustion during the hot summer months.
There is even a tradition of eating this fish on doyo-no-ushi (“day of the ox”) days in midsummer.
The eel is grilled over a charcoal fire, drizzled with a salty-sweet sauce, and served on top of rice (eel prepared this way is called “kabayaki”).
If you ever visit Japan, you have really got to try this delicious dish!
An excellent source of vitamins and other nutrients
Eel is packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, B1, B2, and E and fatty acids DHA and EPA.
It alleviates symptoms caused by vitamin deficiencies, such as sluggishness, insomnia, lack of appetite and problem skin.
Declining fishing yields have unfortunately hiked up the price in recent years, but a more affordable frozen version has come on the market and helped to satisfy the people’s appetite for eel!