ISO - Unagi Kabayaki -- from Japan

Not unagi from a sushi shop, but I’m looking for the frozen grilled unagi that comes already grilled and sauced up. Specifically, I’m looking for a Japanese brand or import. Most of what I can still find are Chinese brands. I’m not being a Japanese brand snob, as I’ve had my share of the Chinese imported kind too. They aren’t as good, but passable, and usually are made with more preservatives or corn syrup, etc. My biggest beef however is that these usually are sad-looking, thin eels. I’m looking for something that is meatier, and preferably less artificial ingredients.

have you tried ebisuya japanese market in medford square?

That would be my last resort. It’s not exactly an easy spot to get to from the South Shore, and with no car.

It’s just slightly closer (but not much) than Ebisuya, but I go to Sakanaya in Allston for sushi grade fish. They have some frozen cooked items (braised tuna, etc); maybe give them a call and see if they stock it? I have been struggling to find a good source for sushi fish in South Shore, unfortunately.


+1 on Sakanaya.

I haven’t been to Sakanaya in ages, and I forgot about that place. Thanks for the suggestion. Gives me an excuse to stop by Bonchon too :stuck_out_tongue:.

I visited HMart in Cambridge last weekend, and looked there. Nothing from Japan, but they have a two brands that I hadn’t seen before. At least slightly bigger than the ones I bought last time, so I’m going to try these and see if they’re good.

Are you looking for fresh or in cans? Just asking. I don’t know if I’ve seen unagi in cans but will keep an eye out.

To bad I don’t have any to suggest as I don’t live in your area. However, Japanese unagi is good. It is just that they are also expensive as well. Good luck.


Thanks, @NotDoobieWah.

I never thought about canned unagi, though I saw them at the Chinese market yesterday and it made me think. Has anyone ever tried these? Are they good, or are they something entirely different from the frozen ones?

I think I have tried the Chinese unagi (both from Japanese supermarkets and from Chinese supermarkets). They are fine. More than likely, most of the unagi we have had from most Japanese restaurants are the Chinese eel (I don’t think most Japanese restaurants here made it from scratch). The reason is that if they only charge $15 per unagi don (grilled eel rice), then it seems too cheap for using the Japanese eel.

The Japanese unagi is about $34-45 a package. I have tried both. At the time, I thought the Japanese one is better, but not far better. I think it is one of those things in life that you won’t know if it is worth it until you try it.

Yeah, I was lucky to get a Japanese brand a few times here. There probably exactly the same as what gets old in Tokyo (and I’ve read the stories of most commercially sold eels in Japan are from China too), but they are a few dollars more per pack. That’s what I was looking for. Aside from the fructose/corn syrup in the Chinese brands that turned me off, the biggest difference was really the size. The Japanese brands have eels that are a good 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Good for a proper meal. Most of the Chinese brands I’ve found locally are barely 1/4 thick at most at the thickest part of the eel! It’s like eating unagi sauce skin… :confused: