Monday, July 24, 2006

Eel Appeal

Unagi Day
Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
Since the Edo Period it has been traditional to eat eel on the 23rd of July,the Day of the Ox under the old Chinese calendar.It marks the start of the hottest period of summer.
Usually Japan is in the fiery grip of early summer.Eel is said to ward off the debilitating energy sapping heat.
This year however the rainy season has been prolonged.Outstayed its welcome.An active rain front remains.Bringing floods,mudslides and death.
Tajimi where I work has several unagi-ya,eel restaurants.In the past freshwater eels were caught in rice paddies and streams.Now, however most is raised on eel farms.Aichi Prefecure has a number of commerical farms but the leading area is located in Shizouka Prefecture.
Each region has its own recipes and dishes.Even the way of gutting eel varies from Kanto to Kansai.
In Nagoya, hitsumabashi is a popular way of serving eel.Its a style of eating grilled eel together with rice.Tare, a thick soy based sauce is basted on to the eel to add flavour.After grilling the tare basted eel turns a rich golden brown.Green tea is also poured over the eel to add flavour.
Most of the students I talked to yesterday had or were going to have eel at some meal.Although most regarded eel as expensive this didnt seem to deter them from following tradition...

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