Unagi Pie is one of many Japanese cultural treasures struggling under the pandemic.

With COVID-19 now in full pandemic mode, a battle is being fought on two fronts around the world. On one hand are efforts to combat the spread and improve treatment of the dangerous virus. On the other are businesses of all types and sizes struggling to stay afloat as commerce dries up.

Now, reports out of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture have announced that the makers of the popular souvenir snack Unagi Pie (Eel Pie) have halted production.

Although the name might conjure up unpleasant images, Unagi Pie is simply a cookie made with a bit of eel extract and then flavored with the same sauce used on grilled eel. In the end, the taste of actual eel meat is non-existent in them.

In Japan “pie” is a genre of cookie made with the dough of a pie crust, but folded into itself, cut and then baked as a cookie. The result is a very delicate and flaky snack that comes in a variety of flavors and is loved by many.

Unagi Pie stood out among the pack, however, partly due to its unique connection to eels (chosen because Hamamatsu is famous for them), and because of its slogan: “A snack for nights.” Although this originally meant that people on business trips to Hamamatsu would bring a box back home in the evening, it was widely misinterpreted as a claim to enhance sexual performance.

▼ It’s also one of the few cookies with it’s own full-length theme song

Makers of Unagi Pie Shunkado cited the cause of the stoppage to be an overall corona-fear-fueled drop in travel inside Japan, which has reduced souvenir sales by half. As a result machines at the sprawling Unagi Pie Factory which are said to churn out up to 300,000 eel pies a day will be shut down completely for the first time since they were turned on in 2005.

▼ The Unagi Pie Factory

This unfortunate news was met with sympathy from Unagi Pie fans and sparked yet another panic-buy instinct in others.

“Oh my god! I have to go buy Unagi Pie now!!!”
“Those are going to sell big online.”
“Oh, that’s terrible. I will go on a factory tour as soon as I can.”
“Are they stopping it to help people keep their hands to themselves?”
“Oh man, I didn’t feel like eating an Unagi Pie until hearing this news.”
“I love the texture of those things.”
“I’m sure all those people who missed out on the mask reselling craze are watching this closely.”

The good news is that Shunkado still has an ample stock of cookies and will rely on those to get through this rough patch. The Unagi Pie Factory is also still holding tours and has other attractions such as a cafe which are still in operation for anyone who still wants to help out the brand.

▼ Many elegant Unagi Pie dishes are still served daily at the Unagi Pie Cafe

Having been invented in the ’60s, the mighty Unagi Pie has survived the oil shock and several low-carb diet fads. By all indications it’s a virile enough snack to survive this too.

Source: @S, Hachima Kiko
Photos ©SoraNews24
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