Here is the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about the taste and flavors of eel.
So, let’s dive right in.
What is Eel?
Eel is a kind of fish, that is often mistaken for a snake.
It has no pelvic fins, and most don’t have pectoral fins, giving it a snake-like appearance. It is an exotic dish on the seafood menu. The edible eel is the freshwater variety, also known as unagi.
The marine version is anago.
What Does Eel Taste Like?
Eel has a meaty whitefish taste similar to that of lobster or shellfishes like a crab. It has a sweetness that is often compared to that of chicken. Some also compare the taste of eel to that of octopus meat or catfish meat.
Eel meat is rich in fat content and does not have a strong fishy taste to it.
The meat as such does not have a lot of flavors other than the subtle sweetness. But it is great at soaking in the flavors of the sauce or stew it is cooked in.
All across the globe, the eel can be found prepared in a variety of ways.
It is most popularly grilled with some sauce to go along with it.
But there are also unique recipes like jellied eel or eel in alcohol which make the most of the versatile blank canvas of the eel’s taste profile.
Here is a popular Japanese Chef preparing Hitsumabushi –
Does Eel Have a Fishy Taste?
No, eel does not have an overpowering fishy taste, and it is bland or mild when it comes to its flavors like squid meat or octopus meat. It is great at absorbing the flavors of the sauce it is cooked in and adds a slight seafood taste with notes of sweetness.
Does Eel Taste Like Snake?
No, eel does not taste like a snake, although they are often mistaken to look like one. The eel has a milder sweet flavor and is closer to lobster or shellfish in taste. Whereas, snakes have an earthy meaty taste and can be a bit rubbery.
Does Eel Taste Like Catfish?
Yes, the taste of eel is often compared to that of catfish. Both share the mild and slightly sweet whitefish meat taste and are great at picking up the flavors of the spices it is cooked with. But that being said, they are not interchangeable in recipes and have their unique flavors and cooking methods.
What Does Eel Sushi Taste Like?
Eel sushi, made mostly out of unagi, has a mild and sweet flavor with a chewy texture. It is often compared to raw salmon in terms of flavor. Some also compare it to catfish. The eel is not thoroughly cooked in the sushi and that plays a part in the flavor and texture of the dish.
What Does Eel Sauce Taste Like?
Eel sauce has a sweet, salty, and tangy taste which makes it a great flavor enhancer. But bear in mind that the eel sauce is not made with eel. The sauce is called so because it is mostly used to flavor eel dishes or similar seafood. The eel sauce is instead made with mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar.
Here is a recipe for eel sauce for you –
What Are Some Popular Eel Dishes?
Unagi sushi grilled unagi called unadon from Japan or Vietnamese eel soup or Portuguese eel stew are great options. You could also try eel alcohol or jellied eel if you want to experiment. Eel is a versatile ingredient and is prepared in myriad different ways, across the globe. If you are looking to try some dishes, these popular ones are worth a shot.
I hope this article has helped you get a grip on the taste and flavors of eel.
If you have any doubts or would like to share some taste tips and notes of your own, it would be great to hear from you.
Feel free to share this article with your family and friends who love sea food!