Unagi freshwater eel
©japanesecooking101.com

What is Unagi?

Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eel, especially the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. Unagi is often eaten as kabayaki (Grilled eel on skewers without rice) or donburi (sliced eel served on a bed of rice). Grilled unagi is a relatively expensive delicacy in Japan and is traditionally eaten during the hottest part of the summer (on the “Day of the Ox” on the lunar calendar) as it is believed to provide the energy necessary to beat the summer fatigue. Unagi can be eaten at a variety of restaurants, such as tempura, kaiseki or sushi restaurants, or at specialty unagi restaurants known as unagiya.

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