|A nice flank of eel warming up.|
Around Earth, it may be the first official day of the Thirtieth Olympiad, but in little ol' Japan, it's Doyo no Ushi no Hi （土用の丑の日）. But let's make it easy for ourselves, and call it Eel Day!
At around the end of July, a day is designated as the day to celebrate the eating of eel, an increasingly more expensive dish. It's said that the high content of oil in the flesh of the snaky fish provides a lot of stamina to get through the dog days of Summer, and the way it's sounding over there, those dogs are the size of mutant St. Bernards called Cujo.
So, folks in Japan will usually descend upon those restaurants specializing in eel cuisine during the day surrounding Eel Day to get their lacquered boxes of grilled eel slathered in sticky, savoury and sweet sauce topped on a bed of rice (una-don)...sometimes given a scattering of minuscule gold flakes. On normal days, a good box could cost about 3,000 yen. But with supplies of Japanese eel alarmingly low over the past couple of years, prices have gone up 20%-30%, and some eel restaurants have even tried to supplement very limited supplies of eel with other forms of meat such as pork slathered in the same sauce used for the eel.
|My own una-don|
I guess from now on, whenever the end of July passes, I will get that twinge in my stomach showing my longing for a good round of una-don. I don't think eel is too plentiful in these parts.