A popular summer dish in Japan to beat the heat is unagi or freshwater eel. Unagi is usually eaten on a bed of rice (unadon) and is also thought to have aphrodisiac or at least stamina-giving properties.
Unagi is protein rich and contains the vitamins A and E. Unagi is filleted and then usually charcoal-grilled in specialist unagi restaurants and then basted with a thick, dark sauce.
Some of the best eel in Japan is believed to be from Lake Hamana (Hamanako) in Shizuoka Prefecture near Hamamatsu.
Vast quantities of these eels are also imported from China and the species is thought to be under pressure to survive the current rate of catch. Tradition holds that eel should be eaten on the Day of the Ox in the hottest part of the Japanese summer.
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