Out of all the weird colas we’ve tried, this may be the weirdest.

In Japan, there’s no predicting when you’ll run into strange and interesting food and drink flavors. It could be at the convenience store, the supermarket, or anywhere. When our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa made a grocery run at his local supermarket, he found Eel Cola (Unagi Cola in Japanese) by Japanese company Kimura Drinks.

He impulse-bought it, of course. How could he pass that up? Unlike the takoyaki toothpaste we tried before that was kind of a marketing gimmick, this eel cola looked more promising.

▼ This blue label says it contains actual eel extract, so he was hopeful.

Most of the ingredients are pretty similar to regular cola–high fructose corn syrup, carbonated water, caramel coloring, and such–but eel essence (unagi ekisu, or ウナギエキス in Japanese) is the second ingredient listed.

▼ That’s (potentially) a lot of eel.

Even having tasted both eel and cola before, Tasuku had trouble imagining how the two would taste combined.

▼ To get the full experience, he set everything up like a wine tasting and took a big whiff before tasting it.

But even post-sniff, he thought, “I can’t tell what this will taste like…” The scent was pretty diluted, bringing him only a faint suggestion of plain old cola. He was almost disappointed that it didn’t feel like a punch of eel, but he ultimately decided it was probably better off this way.

Then he gave it a sip…and still didn’t know what to think. It just tasted like a watered-down version of regular cola. Was this another ripoff? Where was the eel extract?

He reflected on past taste-tests and realized that it might taste different if he let it warm up closer to room temperature. In Tasuku’s experience, room temperature allows you to experience the depth of cola’s flavor more. So, he took another smooth sip…

▼…and there it was.

The punch of eel. But instead of it coating his mouth like he expected, it seemed to come as an aftertaste in his throat. And the taste stayed there like he had just eaten a plate of raw eel. We’ll let you decide how you feel about that.

If you’re into the flavor of raw eel and want it to stay around in your throat for a while, Tasuku recommends you try it out. It’s available on Amazon Japan if you search for “うなぎコーラ” (unagi cola), so look it up! You can even make a whole seafood snack time by pairing it with chocolate-covered shrimp.

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[ Read in Japanese ]