Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Possibly the Best Layover Ever, Part 3: Eating Unagi in Narita Village

Narita Town is famous for its freshly grilled unagi, Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica), that is sliced and diced kabayaki-style just minutes before arriving on your plate.  The prices may seem a bit steep, but these eels are guaranteed to be procured locally in Japan, whereas most unagi now comes from China and other parts of SE Asia.

After watching these expert butchers prepare the eel from a streetside vantage point, we knew we had to return after our jaunt through the temple grounds to enjoy the fruits of their labor. 

**WARNING** - the video below of eel cleaning is QUITE graphic and not for the animal friendly or the squeamish!

Although there is a plethora of unagi restaurants to choose from, we went with Oomiya after a local tip. 

The eels live the majority of their lives in freshwater, but head to the Pacific Ocean to spawn, making a journey of thousands of kilometers.  Most eels that head to the dinner plate are now raised in aquaculture farms.

Hot green tea.

The backyard is a pleasant greenspace to gaze upon while eating.

As a proud defender of all creatures great and small, Nellie ordered the Sansai-soba vegetable noodle soup.


** Despite the delicious flavor, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations do advise against eating unagi as fishery numbers have declined dramatically in recent years and are now considered unsustainable for most part. 

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