What Does Eel Taste Like – Eel In Sushi and the Best Flavors for Eel

You may be pretty crazy about seafood and still not know what does eel taste like because you’re frightened or confused about how this fish looks. I mean eel does look sort of snake-like and scary with large round eyes and a slim and slimy body.

The only I would like to say at this point is that don’t let appearances deceive you. Seafood is utterly delicious, along with being loaded with protein and omega fatty acids. And eel is not exempt from that. Just because it looks weird doesn’t mean it tastes weird. In this post, you’ll see how and why.

What Does Eel Taste Like

There’s just no undermining the truth that eel tastes very, very delicious. The meat has an incredibly firm yet soft texture, which makes it nice and chewy. Plus, you don’t get that unpleasant fishy aftertaste with eel.

But then there’s freshwater eel and saltwater eel. The latter has thicker skin with tougher meat. Nevertheless, both types of eels taste really good.

If someone has ever told you that eel has a somewhat bland taste, then maybe that person must’ve not cooked it the right way. The taste is not so much as bland as it is light. Think of it like squid meat, but with a hint of sweetness. In fact, the most amazing thing about eel meat, no doubt, is how well it goes with different types of seasonings and sauces.

Needless to say, one describes the taste of eel and the texture of its meat based on the recipe. So if you’re someone who enjoys consuming exotic food, you might compare the taste of eel to that of frogs and snakes. But if that’s not the case, then your answer to does eel taste like chicken is most likely to be YES.

As far as my experience goes, I think eel tastes more like catfish and also maybe salmon.

Eel In Sushi – What Does Eel Taste Like Then?

What does eel taste like in sushi? Now it goes without saying that if you’re not so fond of the texture and taste of fish, then you’re bound to not like sushi. But if you do, you should know what unagi means.

The Japanese term for the freshwater type of eel is unagi. And unagi is a very common ingredient used in Japanese cuisine. While saltwater eel in Japanese is called anago. To consume both, you have to first cook them.

Freshwater eel fillets are brushed with sweet soy sauce, grilled, and then sliced and served in the form of nigiri. Whereas saltwater eel tastes the best when deep-fried for tempura or simmered for sushi.

So What Does Unagi Taste Like?

It’s packed with protein, calcium, and Vitamin A – unagi, no doubt, is a highly nutritious fish. The meat is firm and sweet, slightly like bass. And when you cook unagi properly, it becomes soft, flaky, and fluffy, which certainly tastes very pleasant without any earthy or fishy aftertaste.

While saltwater eel (anago) is relatively less oily and rich. Even so, the texture is soft and the taste is sweet.

What Does Eel Taste Like – Best Flavors for Eel

Now let’s see which flavors complement the meat of eel. Hands down, traditional Japanese ingredients – mirin, fish sauce, soy sauce, etc. You can also add sugar or other such sweet ingredients for balancing out the saltiness.

  • Garlic seasoned eel on the side of steamed vegetables.
  • Paprika sprinkled eel with an omelet.
  • Bay leaf seasoning on eel served with rice.
  • Turmeric spiced eel recipe combined with noodles.
  • Rosemary herb + eel + quinoa = so delicious!
  • And lastly, fennel seasoning with wasabi, nori, and green onions.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Eel

1. Packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There’s no chance most of us are consuming the required level of omega fatty acids on a daily basis. These are essential fatty acids that benefit health in plenty of ways, such as reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. Yet the majority of the population doesn’t meet the daily requirement.

So you have a very strong reason to consume eel more frequently. Because every 100 grams of eel offers 838 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids. And a single fillet of eel contains 1,333 milligrams of Omega-3.

2. Rich Source of Vitamins

You can meet 100-percent of your daily requirements of Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A with only 100 grams of eel. Both vitamins are crucial for boosting immune function, energy production, and eye health.

Moreover, Vitamin D is also present in eel, over 50-percent of daily intake with just 100 grams of eel. That means your bones and immune system are also well taken care of.

3. High Levels of Protein

Dietary protein is what you get with eel. Around 24 grams of protein in a 100-gram serving. And 38 grams of protein in a 159-gram eel fillet.

Certainly, these amounts are almost the same as what you get with other protein sources like poultry and meat.

4. Low Levels of Mercury

Metal contamination in seafood has become a serious concern now in this day and age. More specifically, mercury contamination. Now, comparatively speaking, and this is good news, eel has the least amount of mercury. That means other types of seafood, such as canned tuna and cod, have more.


Don’t be mistaken, eel has some downsides too. Such as the major drawback is that eel is not the most sustainable seafood choice. There are plenty of endangered eel species on the brink of extinction. No wonder so many seafood foundations and marine conservation communities are telling people not to consume eel.

A large number of mainstream eel comes from unsustainable sources. It’s almost impossible to come across any sustainable-certified eel products.

Another drawback is the presence of toxins in raw eel. That is why you should avoid consuming it uncooked. Even eel sushi, as a matter of fact, is cooked. All you need to do is make sure the cooking temperature reaches anywhere between 136 degrees and 158 degrees Fahrenheit in order to destroy that toxin.

And finally, no matter what eel looks like, the taste of eel is pretty amazing. In fact, eel is a delicacy in many cultures and countries. So every seafood lover must try it out!

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