Unagi is very Japanese! The many ways to prepare eel

Unagi is very popular in Japan.
It is served not only as a sushi item but often as kabayaki (broiled eel), unajyu, unadon and unachazuke. There are quite a few people who go to eel restaurant that specialized in eel cuisine. People even line up a highly reputable restaurant which offers tasty unagi.

*Kabayaki: First, split open the fish such as unagi and anago (conger), take away its bones and pierce it with skewer. Then grill it with sauce made with soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine). We call the dish itself or the cooking procedure kabayaki. When you put kabayaki on a bowl of steamed rice, that’s unadon. A sweetened soy-based sauce seeps through the rice and makes it a delicious Japanese food. If you come to Japan, do try both unajyu and unadon.

In the meantime, do you know the difference between unajyu and unadon? Is it just called differently? Or is there any definition to draw a line between the two?
On examination, most of the restaurants say there is no difference in the quality and quantity of eel. Many of them explain that the difference is just the names and serving dishes, or they make a slight difference by adding pickled vegetables and soup as a relish.
Some restaurants explain the reason that unajyu is a little expensive is that the size of a container differs according to the size of eel, and others explain that unajyu and unadon are the same price but the difference is just a container.

In short, as there is no big difference between unajyu and unadon in terms of types or parts of eel used, there is a slight difference that each restaurant distinguishes the two dishes by sizes and relishes. We tend to have an image that unajyu is more costly than unadon but it’s not necessarily true. It varies greatly among restaurants.

Speaking of unagi, the city of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture is especially famous for it in Japan. The reason why eel became popular in Hamamatsu is that the area has farmed eel for more than 100 years.

Like Japanese buckwheat noodle, there is Kanto-style eel and Kansai-style eel.
Kanto-style eel is very soft and fluffy as grilled briefly with sauce after well steamed. Kansai-style eel, on the other hand, is crispy on the surface and can enjoy its spicy savor as grilled slowly with putting on sauce after steamed a little.


●A place you can eat good unagi in Tokyo

・”Namobar” -a casual unagi restaurant in Shinbashi

It’s a secret dining restaurant for adults standing on a back alley in Shinbashi.
You can enjoy a variety of sake and Japanese white distilled, as well as Nagoyameshi (specialty foods of Nagoya). When it comes to local dishes of Nagoya, don’t forget hitsumabushi. Hitsumabushi is a kind of unadon but chopped broiled eel is on steamed rice. It often comes with yakumi (condiments such as wasabi and spring onions) and you can eat it with them or pour dashi (a kind of broth) to make chazuke. Many people eat hitsumabushi at the end of meal, which is a unique style of Nagoyameshi.
The restaurant has an antique interior and gives customers some space to relax.

*Hitsumabushi: a Japanese dish using broiled eel, which is also famous as a local food of Nagoya City.

・”Nagashima” -an unagi restaurant in Sugamo

It prepares farmed eel from Haibara District, Shizuoka, and broils it with a secret sauce since the store opening. The difference in price is due to the difference in weight of eel, and both quality and taste of eel are guaranteed.

Photo by gumigasuki ,parkminho

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