Grilled eel, known as "unagi," is popular in Japan for its rich and savory flavor, as well as its cultural significance. Unagi is often enjoyed during the hot summer months, particularly on a day known as "Doyo no Ushi no Hi," which is believed to provide stamina and energy to endure the summer heat. The popularity of grilled eel also stems from its unique taste and the meticulous preparation methods used to enhance its flavor.
Grilled eel has a tender texture and is typically coated in a sweet soy-based glaze that caramelizes during grilling, creating a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors. When served over a bed of fluffy white rice, the flavors of the eel and the glaze complement the mildness of the rice, creating a harmonious and satisfying combination. The eel's richness and umami pair well with the neutral taste of rice, resulting in a comforting and deeply flavorful dish.