Unagi is “freshwater eel” in Japanese, and is an important part in their cuisine. It is not to be confused with “anago,” which is saltwater eel. In Japanese, “hiraki” means “open,” and this is how the Unagi Hiraki is presented—cut open or butterflied, making it easier to prepare and ready to cook. It has a delicate but firm texture, and a rich, bold, fatty flavor—light and sweet, but not overpowering.
Unagi Hiraki should never be eaten raw, as it can be toxic when eaten raw. It is usually grilled, and this is still the ideal way to enjoy it. But it’s also great to bake, or coated in batter and fried. Enjoy it with some sake, or a Riesling.
Unagi is such an intrinsic part of Japanese cuisine that they celebrate “Unagi Day.” Eating unagi has been a thing since the Edo era, and this day is also known as Doyo no Ushi no Hi. It’s a summer tradition in Japan, where they eat unagi to keep up their stamina. It is believed that eating foods beginning in “u” on this day would bring relief from the intense summer heat and humidity.
For a more modern piece of trivia, fans of the show Friends will remember when Ross Gellar kept uttering the word “unagi.” He had confused the word unagi with the karate concept of “zanshin,” which is the state of total awareness of one’s surroundings.
Fresh fish will arrive to you in designated Styrofoam boxes with shaved ice or similar. Kindly store in your fridge as soon as received. For the best flavor and quality, fish should be prepared for eating the same day it is brought home, but it can be stored for max three days in a refrigerator at a cool 4°C.
Consume within 3 days.