Is The Taste Of Eel Worth The Price?
Eels are so ridiculously expensive that people tend to be curious about its taste just to understand what the fuss is all about. How could there possibly be a market for a thousand dollar per kilogram of fish unless it tastes really, really good, right?
However, that is the wrong question to ask. Not only will I be helping you have an idea as to what eels do taste like, I will also be telling you why they are worth every penny.
Knowing what eels are
Eels are both a fresh water and a salt water fish. There is a very subtle difference in taste between these eels living in different environments. The important thing to note, however, is that salt water eels have tougher skin and flesh, which makes them notably cheaper than the fresh water variety.
In Japan, they domestically raise eels in a fish pan as underlings until they reach the right size for consumption. They do have a special preference to the ones harvested from a controlled environment as compared to the ones that are caught out at sea and I will be telling you more about that further down the article.
About the Taste and Texture
This fish has a light, kind of sweet taste, when you eat it in Unagi, a popular Japanese dish. Kind of similar to salmon but with a firmer meat. Personally, once I soak it in soy sauce, I can’t really tell much difference between a raw eel and a raw salmon, anymore.
Some people might say it tastes a bit bland, but if you like eating squid, like me, you’re going to like it just fine. Texture is definitely not similar to squid, though.
When an eel is cooked, I heard some people describing it as something that feels like chicken but I personally don’t feel it was that hard. It probably depends on the way it was cooked. If you want to get the best eel menus, try to find authentic eel restaurants, especially Japanese ones. Eel meat is very absorbent and tastes really good with sauces and whatever seasoning it goes with.
Catfish is also a good point of reference, since catfish exhibit a lot of eel qualities without the remarkable price. If you have tried other exotics foods like snakes and frog, other people have compared the taste of eel to those. Among all these comparisons, the closest I would say it is to, is a catfish.
Why Japanese Like Eels so Much
Japan was in turmoil in 2012 when the price of eel was driven up to more than three times the normal market price. They have gone so far as importing eels from the US for two thousand dollars per pound, driving decades-old businesses into bankruptcy. Many eel restaurants could not sustain the high costs of importing, and the prices they had to sell their meals for were no longer within the spending means of a normal Japanese household.
What the rest of the world didn’t really understand is that eels are very much a part of the Japanese culture and traditions. One of their festivals, known as the “ushi-no- hi” is a day they celebrate by eating eels. Not having enough supply, and not being able to afford eels meant a great deal to them. For the sake of argument and parallelism, it is like telling them there is no turkey you can buy for Thanksgiving.
Also, Japanese people believes that including one dish of eel in their daily diet will guarantee that their men are healthy, and their women will not only be healthy, but will also stay beautiful.
Nutritional Values in Eel
Japanese’s belief that eels will keep them healthy and beautiful is not just some misled belief to keep the market buying and eating eels. According to more modern studies, eels are one of the most nutritious food a human body can take.
Not only are eels rich in protein, they are also rich in unsaturated fat, calcium and many others, to say the least. Eels also contain Vitamin E, known to improve skin conditions, which goes to say they are not wrong in thinking eels will keep their women beautiful.
With the number of nutrients you get on a serving of eel, it is only just to say that this is definitely one the best foods to add to our regular diet. You can prepare your own dish today with this easy eels recipe!
The eel industry is now a billion dollar industry that keeps people coming for more. Japan has once been one of the largest exporters and consumers of eels, and while there is no definitive study yet as to why their eels have suddenly gone away, it only goes to show that we do not have an unlimited supply for everything.