The last trip that we were in Tokyo, the Man kept talking about Unagi Don (grilled eel in sweet sauce served over white rice). So much so, I kept thinking about it and on the last day of our trip, I decided to drag the Man to go have it. We tried looking for the one that he used to frequent in some small lane off Shinjuku station, but the tiny lanes all looked the same and it felt like we were going round in circles. So, we aborted tiny lane Unagi Don mission and headed to a proper eatery that served up Unagi Rice in a proper mall.
Located at the 14 floor of Times Square, Akasaka Fukinuki Unagi Restaurant is a specialty eel restaurant and apparently the only place in all of Tokyo that you can eat Hitsumabushi, a Nagoya-style eel donburi.
I knew what I was going to have – the Hitsumabushi lunch set which is actually grilled eel served on rice with accompaniments. Looked around and saw that most of the diners ordered this set as well, so I guess it must be popular.
What’s interesting to note is that Hitsumabushi is recommended to be eaten in 3 different ways. Using the flat wooden spoon provided, we first scooped portions of unagi and rice from the large laquered bowl into the small bowl.
The first way to have this is to add much Japanese pepper as you like on to the unagi and rice. I initially didn’t think very highly of having the unagi this way but I guess you’ll get to enjoy the original sauce with just the pepper.
The second way of eating the dish is to add green onion and seaweed. Mix everything up and just tuck in.
And the third way of eating this is to mix in green onions seaweed, wasabi and lots of warm dashi (Japanese soup stock) from the white flask along with the unagi and rice. It’s kinda having cooked porridge, very heart-warming when you are feeling cold.
After trying all 3 ways, you can choose to have the rest of unagi and rice in any combination you’d like. Kinda tough if you ask me because all 3 methods are pretty good.