Stuff about eel

unagi don


  • Unagi looks like the hiragana character for ‘U’ in Japanese, making it a handy mnemonic. There’s no equivalently useful food in English.
  • There’s a special day reserved in Japan for eating stamina-giving eel, which I referred to as ‘unagi day’ but is in fact called doyo no ushinohi. If you wanted to make a joke, you could call it doyo no ushirohi, which is eel buttocks day, which is actually pretty funny. This site not only has much more information but also has an amazing number of tiny gif characters.
  • There’s a handy hole punch like thing that you use to nail the eel’s head on a board so you can fillet it.
  • In a three stage process the eel is grilled, steamed and grilled again.
  • This removes much of the eel fat, which instead drips down onto hot charcoal and is transformed into smells. Tasty ones.
  • Above is an unagi donburi (or unagi don (or unaju-). It’s grilled eel with a sweet teriyaki style sauce on rice.
  • Japanese don’t use teriyaki to anywhere near the extent that we’ve been led to believe they do.
  • The rice has been mixed with a kind of sushi vinegar, which was sugar, rice vinegar and dashi. It’s also good plain.
  • The black things are soft konbu furikake.
  • I bought the eel ready-to-go at Seafresh in Innaloo.
  • Yes it is on the floor, but they’re nice floorboards, no?

OBSERVATION Has this blog got skinnier or have screens become wider? Because there’s like all this space on the sides.

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11 comments

  1. santos.’s avatar

    unagi the word or unagi the eel looks like U? because if it’s the word, then wouldn’t there be two U’s in there, which would be rather eel buttocky indeed.

    everything’s so…narrow in here. or maybe my screen got fat.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    u the japanese vowel and its hiragana character is like an eel. I could have type it but that’s what happens when your laptop gets a cup of coffee in it and the computer you have left doesn’t have Japanese. So here’s a link
    Not at all buttocky.
    In three years time it’ll just be a thin vertical line

  3. jean’s avatar

    mmm unagi. that, with otoro and uni = heaven.

    seafresh innaloo is great – i think we overdosed on salmon and uni on our last trip there.

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    mwah I good go a bit of sashimi squid at the moment too.

    It is great, they’ve always got a nice selection of whole fish too.

  5. Nakku’s avatar

    う doesn’t look like an eel. Or at least, no more than any other hiragana. And now I don’t trust you anymore. What else have you been lying to us about?

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    You, sir, look like Hitler.

  7. Ryan’s avatar

    I have never tried eel before. Is it like regular fish or is it more rubbery like octopuss

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    It’s definitely more fishy in texture and in flavour. The flavour is slightly on the muddy side like trout, which I guess also makes it a good candidate for taking on the charcoal smoke. The texture is flaky-fish and the BBQing gives it a bit of contrasting crunch. It’s the lack of crunch which associates ‘jellied eels’ with yuk.

  9. 2-minute Noodle Cook’s avatar

    Of all the fish I’ve ever eaten in Japanese restaurant, I must say the eel tastes awfully fishy, with the sort of aroma associated with stale seafood. I wouldn’t order it again unless the dish is drowned in teriyaki.

  10. chika’s avatar

    i guess we do often associate unagi with the hiragana character for ‘u’ (う), as you see a lot in a trade sign etc. at a unagi restaurant.
    http://www.2828.co.jp/cart2828/files/products/001004008_m.jpg

    then again, the alphabet ‘U’ kinda looks like unagi, too…

    ditto to your observation about Japanese using a lot less teriyaki than people seem to believe we must! I’ve seen way more teriyaki-ed up stuff in the US than in here, really.

  11. Niall Harbison’s avatar

    Am a big fan of eels as all the family are eel fishermen but they are really struggling at the moment as people don’t seem to be buying them any more and the fact that they are over fished. One of the best ways of eating them is fried like they are over here

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