Eel Species 1: Unagi, Common Eel


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Unagi or common eel is fish which made Hamanako/Hamana Lake famous in western Shizuoka Prefecture.
As summer approaches, the Japanese are looking forward to eat the delicacy as it is supposed to revitalize your body on very hot days.
Also called « Kayoko », « Subera » or « Aobai », it is farmed mainly in Shizuoka, Aichi and Gifu Prefectures.
It is only in the Edo Period that the Japanese starting it after they realized it could not be eaten raw as opposed to anago/conger eel or hamo/pike conger eel (coming soon!).
Japan presently produces more than 24,000 tonnes and still imports 14,000 tonnes whole and 71,000 tonnes cooked, most of it from China.

It is quite popular as nigiri in any part of Japan.

But the Japanese are simply crazy about « kabayaki », which requires to grill and baste the fish at the same time, a fairly tedious process. It is a bit of an acquired taste as the connoisseurs eat the skin, which is a bit too oily to my liking.
In Hamamatsu, it is possible to eat the real wild fish in a very few restaurants, but you will know the difference when the bill comes!

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