Stamina and Vigor in Unagi
Freshwater eel is ‘unagi’ in Japanese. As with other marine eels, the freshwater eels are common in Japanese cuisine. The saltwater type of eel variety is called anago. Unagi is prized for its soft, fatty meat and bold, rich taste. It is cultivated mainly during May to October, and generally regarded amongst Japanese as being a summer food, as its high content of vitamins and minerals is believed to provide energy especially in hot weather.
Cooked is the way Japanese eels are always eaten. Due to its rich, fatty taste, the eel dish is usually accompanied with other dishes that have light, subtle flavors to balance the richness of the meat. Ground sansho pepper, a native pepper to Japan with a strong herbal flavor, is a popular condiment to serve with eel, as it cuts through the fatty flavor of the eel. You can enjoy unagi at tempura and sushi restaurants, or at specialty restaurants known as unagiya.
Though popular in Japan, eels are also well appreciated in other cultures, like in the US, Europe, New Zealand, China and Korea. Their meaty, oil-rich and distinctively strong flavor are so loved in Japan whose culture favors natural, healthy and sustainable foods. Eels are believed to provide stamina and body rejuvenation particularly in the summer, as well as vitality and energy especially amongst the elderly. The fish has amazing nutritional values from which these claims come from.
What is the nutritional value of eels?
They have zero sugar, low in sodium and high in potassium and phosphorus. They contain no carbohydrates, but have 18 amino acids. It is especially rich in vitamins A and B12, but also in B1, B2, D and E. Studies show that eels decrease cholesterol, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing arthritis. Its high content of omega 3 fatty acids delays or reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Eel also reduces cardiovascular risk factors, one of them high triglyceride levels.
They also promote good eyesight and help against some skin conditions like eczema. Lastly, eels are also proving beneficial in normal brain development and nervous system function.
If you are watching your calories, this fatty fish can be good for you. Though eels have loads of vitamin and mineral content, its cholesterol component, of just 254 mg per 200 gram serving, may be a concern.
Dining at FLO in Bellevue
Enjoy our broiled fresh water eel served with rice and special unagi sauce, our popular Dragon Roll with unagi, and if available in season, you can have freshwater eel in our Omakase Sashimi. And for your pleasure, we also have anago at FLO!