Meeting Locals on a Gap Year Around the World

Eating Hitsumabushi (Eel) in Nagoya

May 27, 2017|Lena
Eating Eel in Nagoya

Although you can get eel everywhere in Japan (on sushi or in chain restaurants it is especially cheap) the best place to enjoy eel is in Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture on the main island of Japan. There it is traditionally served in the same way since the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868). So if you want to enjoy the dish called Hitsumabushi Nagoya is the place to go.

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Eel is actually a little pricey (from 2500 Yen) but I recommend even if you are on a budget to definitely try it. Most restaurants offer small portion sizes also, that might be a good option for travelers with a tight budget.

eating eel in nagoya
 
The Japanese have perfected the art of making eating into a ceremony. There are rules to eating sushi correctly and eating eel is no exception in that respect. The traditional dish is called Hitsumabushi. It is basically grilled eel served on rice. But the way you eat it makes it so special.

Every Serving of Hitsumabushi is Divided into 4 Parts

First: You enjoy the dish as it is. Just eel in its sticky sweet sauce on rice. It is a real explosion of flavor in your mouth. Trust me.

Hitsumabushi eel in Nagoya

Second: You add other flavors to your dish, like Wasabi (horseradish), Nori (dry seaweed) and/or Mitsuba (trefoil). This changes the whole experience into a completely separate dish.

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Third: You pour tea or broth over your rice with eel and add some of the spices you liked from the second step. Even though this might seem strange to you, it is actually the best tasting dish of the three I described here. Adding green tea or broth to a bowl of rice with topping is called Ochazuke and it is incredibly tasty.

Hitsumabushi with Dashi as Ochazuke
Four: Now you can eat the last part that is left in the way you enjoyed the most. Add flavors or not, add broth or not.
Just enjoy the last bite like you want. And savor the flavor of this amazing piece of Japanese cuisine.
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I hope I was able to convey my love for Nagoya Hitsumabushi and the Japanese cuisine in general (I also love these 10 Japanese non-alcoholic drinks).

Where to Try Hitsumabushi in Nagoya?

The first time I ate Hitsumabushi was with Taka and his family at a restaurant close to their home in a town near Nagoya. I had heard of the dish before and had also eaten eel on many occasions, mainly on sushi, but nothing prepared me for the amazing flavor of the traditional Hitsumabushi in Nagoya.
 
If you want to try it you don’t even have to leave the Nagoya Station to enjoy Hitsumabushi. In one of the food streets in the underground level of Eska next to the station is a small restaurant serving Hitsumabushi. It is called Hitsumabushi Inou Esuka Shop (ひつまぶし稲生エスカ店).

Name: Hitsumabushi Inou Esuka Shop (ひつまぶし稲生エスカ店)

Opening hours: 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Address: 453-0015 Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Nakamura-ku, Tsubakichō

Google Maps

By the way, while you might not be able to try Hitsumabushi while you are at home, you can try real Japanese Ochazuke from the comfort of your home. You can order it comfortably on Amazon.com. Ochazuke is super easy to make. Just sprinkle the package of Ochazuke on cooked rice and pour hot water over it. And done! Especially delicious in winter when it is cold!

In Conclusion

If you are planning a trip to Japan, and you are not only looking for food recommendations, like what kind of snacks or drinks to try in Japan, but also a perfect itinerary, have a look at my Perfect Itinerary for 2 Weeks in Japan.
 

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And use my 2 Weeks in Japan Checklist and other Japan related free content during your trip to Japan.

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Eating Eel in Nagoya | Hitsumabushi | Japanese Eel | Culinary Travel | Cultural Travel | Japanese Food | Food Guide Japan | #Travel
How to Eat Eel Hitsumabushi in Nagoya | Japanese Food | Japanese Cuisine | #Japan #Travel #Culinarytravel

Lena

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Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to teach about Social Travel, the art of exploring destinations from the viewpoint of locals while learning about Culture, History, Food, and Traditions.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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