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For some reason, anago (saltwater eel) is not so popular in the States- its freshwater sister, Unagi (freshwater eel) just took the limelight and ran with it. Perhaps it's because anago is not as buttery, I'm not sure... poor anago, it's the underdog eel. But I'm telling you folks, anago is BETTER! It's just delicious and should not be overlooked at the sushi bar.

My sushi chef father, Kuni, just got an order of anago flown in from Tsukiji the other day and I tagged along as he prepared it. That's the thing about anago- unlike unagi, which comes preseasoned and ready to go in convenient packets, chefs actually make anago from scratch.

I'm not gonna lie... eels are slimy and they give me the eeby-jeebies just looking at them.


But deal with it.

Wash and scrub eel clean.


Put in a concoction of 2 parts sake, 1 part soy sauce, 1 part sugar and 1 part water.


Add drop lid or foil and bring to a boil.


When you can snap the anago in half with a chopstick, you know it's ready (about 20 minutes).


Done- look at how much liquid the anago soaked up!


Here Kuni is saying, "You must lay them out flat while it's still hot or else the form gets all out of whack."






Et voila!

It's a little boney, but it's flaky and just crumbles in your mouth. Plus, you can actually taste the fish, whereas unagi tends to be overly saucy and fatty (which of course is meritous in its own right).

Very rarely will you find anago available in local fish markets, Asian markets or Chinatown. Even if it were though, I would just skip all the hassle and just let your favorite sushi chef do all the dirty work! Enjoy!

SUSHI KUNI
10211 S. De Anza Blvd
Cupertino, CA 95014
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10 comments

  • Kayoko this is AWESOME! Thank you so much for posting it! This has been my most educational UM visit ever!

    Erin McMonagle on

  • This is so interesting! I have never seen the process of anago being prepared. I’d take anago over unagi ANYday. To me, unagi is tougher and, yes, overly saucy.

    yoko on

  • Yoko- Yah when my dad started making it, it was fascinating!!

    Erin- Ha, so happy that this space can be educational too, and not just raunchy homosausage talk!

    Ricky- is that place closed now?? Is it Ebisu?

    kayoko on

  • There was a place on 12th and 2nd that used to serve killed to order anago as a special for 2 dollars per piece of nigiri when in season. Ahh the memories of a nail being hammered into the anago’s head.

    Ricky on

  • Thanks Pay! It’s not hard at all- but hardest part is getting your hands on them. My dad says that fresh anago is really hard to find, whereas they do sell freshwater often in Chitown. Where they also sell turtles and other culinary delights.

    kayoko on

  • Excellent post! I didn’t know it was so easy to do it myself. Or maybe it;s not that easy, but you made it look that way. One more thing to add to the list of new things I have to try my hand at!

    Paystyle on

  • Wait, Kayoko, did Kuni get live anago? If so, why didn’t you document the gross part of 1. put neeld on its eye, 2. slice them open, 3. you can totally visualize how slimey it is by looking at the real process. Umami sometimes have to show the reality of good food.

    Yamahomo on

  • Nah not Ebisu, it was Iso, which became Koi, which is now Kanoyama.

    I havent been to Kanoyama, but I doubt they do it that cheap now.

    Ricky on

  • hi i’m a fisherman in the uk . i regulaurly catch eel both sea and freshwater . if u hav any supply issues regarding these fish please contact me filanderer@hotmail.co.uk

    Anonymous on

  • Yama, if I uploaded such a video, you wouldn’t come near here ever again. I could just hear you screeching in the office.

    Admit it, those top pics of the fresh sliced eel gave you goosebumps, didn’t they???

    kayoko on

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