Unagi is eel prepared in the Japanese style, which is usually grilled with a special sauce. It is truly delicious but should be eaten in moderation as it is still very hard to farm them. Also, their natural stock is declining. Read more about unagi in this Japanese Food Guide.
Unagi : Rare and Pricey
Unagi (eel) is a fish that lives in freshwater and is becoming rarer. They are trying to breed them, but this has proven to be very difficult. This is what makes it an expensive fish, and not something to be eaten often and in large quantities. If you come to Japan and would like to try it one time, this is one of the best places in the world to eat it.
For lunch, you will usually pay around 15 USD. But if you want to eat unagi for dinner with a full meal, it can easily cost 50 USD or more. You can buy unagi at the supermarket too for a lower price, but this is usually of lower quality.
Ways to Eat Unagi
There are several ways to eat unagi, the most common one being unadon, eel over rice. The eel itself is usually slathered with a thick, sweet-savory sauce. This sauce contains soy sauce, mirin, and sake, and then grilled on hot coals. It can also be served on a flat tray of rice. A set meal with rice and eel-liver soup (kimosui), or as a skewer with just eel is also common.
Since the Edo period, Japanese people have said that eel is one of the best foods to beat the summer heat. To overcome the stifling summer heat, you should eat something rich and nutritious, and eel is just that. This is why on July 24th (Bull Day) you will see a lot of people eating eel, as this is traditionally considered to be the hottest day of the year.
Your Japan Tour
If you are thinking about making a trip to Japan, as seasoned Japan experts we can help you create your perfect Japan tour, including experiences like food tours during which you get to taste dishes like unagi. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!