Eel Species

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


Here is another fish, second only to tuna, so popular in Japan!

Anago/Conger Eel

Anago or Conger Eel, a favourite all over Japan, does come in many varieties, some edible, some not.

The most popular conger eel in Japan is “Maanago” (“True Conger Eel”).
It is also called “Anago”, “Hakarime” and “Hamo” (although this particular kind should be treated separately)
Summer is the best season, although they are available all year round in Sushi restaurants.
They are mainly caught in Tokyo Bay, Jyowata Bay and Seto Sea.
Most Japanese appreciate them first boiled in broth then cooked on a grill over charcoal fire and then dipped in “tare/Japanese grill sauce”.
anago4.jpg anago5.jpg
As for nigiri, they come in many guises: topped with “tare” (sauce) or just with a light brush of shoyu (see above pics)
anago6.jpg anago7.jpg
Or a bit on the crispy side, or on the very soft and melting one (see above pics)
It basically depends on the chef’s skills and preferences.
One should not forget they also taste great as tempura, including the bones, a particular favourite of mine!

Samples with bright skin transaprent flesh are the best.
Imports from China and Korea have increased recently, although Japan is starting putting strong regulations to protect the species.
As for Shizuoka Prefecture, we do have access to fresh fish. Select your sushi restaurant accordingly!
Unagi/Common Eel

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 a bit oily to my liking.
In Hamamtsu, it is possible to eat the real wild fish in a very few restaurants, but you will know the difference when the bill comes!

9 thoughts on “Eel Species”

  1. Really nice to find your blog.

    I have tried eel few times in São Paulo, Brasil. The first time I had no idea what I was eating. It was in a big plate of sushis and had a teriaki style (dark and sweet) sauce over it and looked cooked. It was good. Then I asked what it was and was amazed with myself. I’d not have tried if I knew. Well, maybe I would eat it because the sushi is as beautiful as all the other and the most attractive way to eat anything from the sea…

    I will be coming back. I am a fish, sushi, japan lover anyway.




    1. Dear Claudua!
      Brazil is onthe other side of the world, but they eat Japanese food there!
      Actually there is a bg Brazilian-Japanese community there!
      But your name seems Swedish to me!
      Talk of globalisation!


  2. Dear Liz!
    There are 124,000,000 (ok, cut that in half to include adults only!) people who know Japanese better than me! I’m only making sure friends know it!
    OK, I’m lucky since I live in the most famous culinary region in Japan!


  3. I had my first BBQ eel recently at a Japanese retauarant, my hubby and son always have eaten it sushimi style, but I liked the latest we tried, and this is as usual a great post by the ‘Master’ of Japan Cuisine…you sir…I bow…


  4. Dear mononoke!
    You are in Romania, aren’t you?
    I’m sure you have a lot to tell about your own food (and wine), too!

    Dear Veronica!
    Eel is great food isn’t it?
    Thank you so much for your commenets!

    Cheers, Robert-Gilles


  5. Hi, Shizouka!
    I’m gonna surely visit very often your interesting blogs, cause I can see I’ll find here about everything I want to know about the Japanese way of life, therefore I want to thank you for your work and… with that being said, see you soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s