Can You Eat Eel

In this article, we will answer the question “can you eat eel”, also we will discuss nutritional content in eel and how people eat eel. 

Can You Eat Eel?

Yes, eel is edible and it is commonly consumed in Japanese cuisine, in food such as unajuu and unadon. 

In Japan, there is a unique celebration during the summer season. They have Unagi (Eel) Day in July or August. It is confirmed as a day to eat eel as their favorite food. In Japan, eel has become very popular and known as an expensive food. The cause of its high price is because eels are not easy to grow and Japanese workers feed them with a slimy and sticky mixture of fishmeal,wheat, soybean, and fish oil. In short, they require constant care. 

Meanwhile, people in England classified eels as a cheap, high protein and nutritious food. The commonly used eels are jellied eels. Jellied eels became a traditional English dish consumed in the early 18th century. Jellied dishes can be found in some of the delhi shops and capital’s supermarkets. You can also find eel- based dishes in some European countries, such as Denmark, France, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands. 

What Is Nutritional Content In Eel?

Eels are high in calories, fat and protein. The eel is a long fish similar to small snakes, they can grow up to several meters in length. 

Based on the USDA’s Food Data Central database, the following chart is an information of nutritional value of eel fish per 100 gr:

Calories236 kcal
Fat15.0 g
Protein23.7 g 
Omega-3838 mg
Omega-6251 mg

If you want to know more details about the nutritional value of eels, please click here.

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Eels?

Eels are known as a dish to promote healthy skin and help the development of brain function.

Based on its nutritional value, eels are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein which is considerable in terms of protecting the heart and maintaining healthy bones. Furthermore, it can improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risks of diabetes and arthritis. 

As a high-calorie dish, eating eels also helps your body to get energy to go through your daily activities. You may get calories from rice, but since rice is high in carbohydrates, it can increase your blood pressure and lead to diabetes. 

In many Asian countries, people are developing eels as a food supplement. The making of eel supplements is quite simple. The flesh, skin, and bones are used, ground to powder form, and capsulated. This supplement is believed to renew strength, especially for elderly people. In addition, eel supplements are also the best source of stamina, and vitality. 

How Do You Prepare Eel To Eat?

Eels can be consumed fried, boiled, or grilled. 

In Japan, eels are usually prepared in many different ways. Eels are usually fileted, grilled, and deboned then brushed with a special sweet soy sauce. In other ways, it is also served flame-broiled and cutted into four pieces paired with soft rice, seaweed and a dipping sauce. Another wonderful way to prepare eels is grilling them using charcoal and applying sake to bring out a strong aroma and make them plumper. 

But for English and European people, they prepare eel based dishes in a more simple way. The eels’ skin is shucked and the eels are chopped into small round pieces. Then boiled in water and vinegar or lemon juice. Eels are then eaten with chili vinegar or with malt vinegar and white pepper. 

What Kind of Eel Can You Eat?

There are freshwater and saltwater eels that can be eaten. The freshwater eels tend to live in the river, coast or lakes. This variety is known as ‘unagi’ (Japanese name). Meanwhile, saltwater eels can be found in the ocean water and known as ‘anago’ or cogger eels. 

Most common freshwater eels species are in the following: 

  • Japanese Eels
  • American Eels
  • European Eels

For the Japanese eels, they are mostly found west of the Mariana islands. They live in freshwaters in Japan, Taiwan, China, and Korea. Whilst, both American and European eels breed in Sargasso Sea but are commonly found in freshwater in America and Europe. 

What Does Eel Taste Like?

The cooked eels taste like salmon and sometimes like squid 

When you eat eels, you can not find a fishy tasting fish. They have a high level of oiliness and some people claim that it tastes like a combination of the sweetness and soft yet quietly-firm texture. 

Many people say that eels sometimes taste bland, but actually it depends on how you cook your eels. For example, if you cook the eels with lots of spices, it can affect its sweetness. While the deep frying eels give the eel meat crispy and crunchy textures. 


In this article, we have answered the question “can you eat eel”, also we have discussed nutritional content in eel and how people eat eel.

Hope this article is valuable and fun to read. If you have any questions, please let us know. 


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.