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Say it! Say we are Unagi!

Derpy dinosaur lover Ross from Friends once (inaccurately) claimed that “Unagi is a state of total awareness“, allowing one to anticipate and avoid any incoming physical attacks. In actuality, unagi is freshwater eel, a tasty snakelike animal which is often a component of sushi or served glazed with sauce on a bed of white rice. Unagi is almost always served cooked, and its flesh has a pleasant flaky texture. Eating raw freshwater creatures is considered hazardous, so most people have never tried it in its raw form.

▼ Unagi as it’s commonly seen: grilled and slathered with delicious sauce.

Curious, the RocketNews24 staff decided to try ordering raw unagi through the mail, which is just the sort of sane and rational caper we’re always happy to dive into. Actually, though, it’s perfectly safe, and the raw unagi is delivered in a temperature-controlled chilled state right to your door.

Our raw, presliced eel came to us courtesy of Yamato’s cool delivery service, shipped from Shizuoka Prefecture specialty store Totoichi. The Totoichi branch in the city of Hamamatsu is the best place to get prime unagi due to the proximity of Lake Hamana, which is considered to be the number-one spot for quality freshwater eel.

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Our sashimi feast cost 2,980 yen (USD$28.50), which isn’t bad for a rare delicacy such as this. What’s even more impressive is that we actually got same-day delivery from Shizuoka to Tokyo!

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The eel was finely sliced with a translucent texture which captivated our staff, most of whom are used to seeing their unagi fully barbecued with a tangy sauce.

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Upon tasting the raw fish, our guinea pig staff were surprised by its texture, reminiscent of rubbery, crunchy cartilage (also a popular snack here in Japan, in case you were wondering.) In fact, the taste was so different from that of sweet, flaky cooked unagi that we doubt anyone eating the stuff blindfold would have been able to identify it.

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So, was it tasty? Yes, but our taste testers said that while unagi makes quite a nice sashimi with an interesting texture, the hassle of having to ship it from specialists in Shizuoka to avoid the hazards of neurotoxins building up in it made it kinda…not worth eating. However, it’s definitely worth trying at least once in your life, just so you can brag about having achieved a state of pure, unadulterated unagi.

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