Apr 27, 2013

Eat a conger eel bowl. It is tasty!

Hi everyone!

The other day I had an あなご丼(anago-don) or literally meaning "conger eel bowl" for the first time in my life. I'm middle-aged, but luckily, I still have many things that remain undone!

Have you ever eaten anago (conger eel, or marine eel) anyway? If you have lived in Japan, I guess you have had a dish using the snake-like fish at least once or twice, because it is nothing unusual, nothing strange in East Asia.  In Japan, we commonly eat it as sushi or tempura, but seldom cook it at home, because professional skills are needed to cut it open remove the bones.

For someone who has never seen an anago, I found a nice photo in the website of the Tottori Fishermen's Association. Well, I personally don't find them particularly grotesque, but they don't look very appetizing either. 

Once cooked, the anago meat becomes very tender, not chewy at all. Its texture is similar to うなぎ (unagi, freshwater eels) but it tastes less fatty and more delicate. By the way, unagi and anago look so much alike that many Japanese cannot tell which is which. I'll explain how to distinguish them. The ones with a dotted line on the side of the body is anago. Well, I'm not sure if this info is important for you, though...

Anyway, here is the anago-don that I ate at an old traditional Japanese restaurant Enomoto(恵の本), near the famous Kawasaki Dashi (川崎大師) temple in Kawasaki City. The dish consists of a big bowl of steamed white rice and fillets of anago cooked in a soy-based sauce. It is served with a bowl of miso soup and some pickles. Tasty, but not cheap (2,000 yen).

If you don't feel like eating the conger eel bowl, you can eat something else at this restaurant. During the weekdays they offer more reasonably priced lunch menu (around 1,000 yen).

I'm not sure if this restaurant is worth going only for eating the anago bowl, but it would be one of the best places to have lunch before/after visiting Kawasaki Daishi temple. Enomoto is a very old restaurant with an over 300 years of history. The atmosphere is nice and the service is friendly.

Info about 恵の本 Enomoto: 
9-12 Taishi honcho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi
tel:044-288-2294, open 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Thursdays. 

Today's useful expressions:
(At the restaurant entrance) ふたり です。 Futari desu.  We are two people.
You can replace futari with san-nin (three people), yonin (four people) or gonin (five people).

穴子丼、ください。 Anago-don kudasai. I'll have a anago-don please.
お茶、ください。 Ocha kudasai. Can I have tea please? *Green tea is free at most Japanese restaurants.

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