Have you ever tried eels meat? What does eel taste like and do you like it?
We do not eat to live these days, do we? We live to eat. And when that becomes the case, things turn a little boring when you have to dine on regular stuff every day. After all, how exotic can chicken be?
So we are constantly looking for new and interesting things to sizzle up our buccal cavity. Eels are nothing less than visit-Japan-and-have-snakes exciting – these slimy beauties are exotic. For all those food-lovers who love trying out new kind of menus, eels should definitely be on the bucket list.
But if you are not so daring as Bear Grylls, perhaps it is better to get an idea from here about how eels might taste like. What does eel taste like? Let us find out.
What Are Eels?
Don’t worry, eels are fishes alright; but they do look like snakes.
These fishes are pretty slimy and live both in salt and fresh water. The salt water variety, because of the obvious presence of salt in the water, has a tougher skin and flesh. They are slightly less costly than the fresh water kind. In Japan they are also grown in artificial surroundings and that kind is said to be not-so-tasty as the ones living in a natural environment.
You know, the same way as wild mushrooms are far tastier than the canned ones (bad comparison? Whoops).
The Texture – Uncanny, Bearable or Amazing?
It might seem a little rubbery to people who are not used to having calamari or squids but they seem absolutely fine to me. It is a dense meaty white fish which some people compare with chicken (not me, I would never compare this exotic beauty to something so generic!).
My opinion would be that, as long as you don’t expect this fish to taste generically fishy like a Snapper or a Mackerel and instead hope for a sea-food kind of texture, you are good to go. The fish is also quite oily which kind of adds to the taste for me.
What Does Eel Taste Like?
This fish is quite sweet, especially if you have it in this dish called ‘Unagi’, a Japanese delicacy. But much depends on the sauces and the spices you soak it in. You can smoke the eels (those are great!) or simply deep fry or fry them in a frying pan, using breadcrumbs.
Some of you might find it a little bland and say that it has no taste of its own but if you are in the habit of having squids, you would now why this taste is a win-win. The best thing about this fish is that it wonderfully soaks up every flavor that you want to put in it.
I personally like comparing the taste of eels with catfish or sea scallops but the ones who have visited the Oriental, say eels taste like frogs or snakes (nah-uh, put that judgmental look away from your face). Here are a video in case you need to convince yourself more:
What is The Fuss All About?
The eels are hell expensive, so much so that in 2012 the whole of Japan was in turmoil as the price of eels went up three times to what it was previously. They then had to import their own authentic seafood from the USA for two thousand dollars a pound! This made a lot of restaurants run into bankruptcy and normal households could no longer afford to have them.
But eels are very important to Japanese cuisine and culture; they even have a day dedicated to it! If they can’t have eels on that day it is like us not having turkey on Thanksgiving. Now it has been declared as an endangered species in Japan.
Health Benefits of Eels
For all those people who calculate the nutritional value of every little morsel before putting them inside your mouth, here are a few words on the nutritional value of eels.
The story that runs in Japan is that the consuming of eels in the everyday diet makes men stronger and women beautiful (old people were sexist, never mind). But that is just not a story. Eels are rich in proteins, unsaturated fats, calcium and many other important minerals that are extremely good for your health. They will not only make you stronger but also improve your immunity.
Eels also contain commendable amounts of Vitamin E, which as you might well know, are amazing for your skin and hair; the old people were not too wrong when they said eating eels make women beautiful (why only women though? Still sexist, huh!).
If you can incorporate portions of eels in your daily diet you will be able to see and feel the results in no time. Here are a few eel recipes for you to try at home:
Give your chicken, turkey and quail a rest and try eels today. They might seem a little bit of a pocket pinch at first but I guarantee you that it will seem worth every penny once you get used to it.
You can first try it out at a sushi restaurant if you are not too sure about how to clean and cook it. Although the guide-links I have given should help you out of that particular problem. And don’t fret about the taste: it is an acquired taste that you will surely like once you show the guts to try it.
Don't know about eels in sushi? Read this article if you don't know what does sushi taste like.
Remember how beers seemed like piss the first time you had them? Well, they don’t seem so now, do they? And eels aren’t half as bad as that!