Eel Thrills (Celebrating Japan’s Unagi Festival at Izakaya Sensu)

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IN Japan, an old tradition known as Unagi Festival is widely anticipated and celebrated for a day. Unagi or eel is believed to have a property that could ward off the intense summer heat and at the same time allow one to gain his or her energy. As for its health benefits, eel contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and has a wealth of vitamins and minerals.

Unagi Bo Sushi

Luckily for Filipinos, there is no need to set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun. At Bonifacio Global City Izakaya Sensu, you can savor the many ways unagi is prepared through its version of the said festival. The festival, which runs until the end of September, gives lovers of Japanese food, as well as adventurous foodies, a chance to indulge in its masterfully prepared signature unagi specials.

There is more to the taste of eel being sweetish, light and having a firm texture. One will have a grand time discovering the medley of flavors that goes in each of the eight unagi dishes—Uzaku, Kurikara, Unagi- Shira-Yaki, Umaki, Unagi Chawan Mushi, Unagi Tempura, Unagi Bo-Sushi and Una-Don.

The Japanese chef of Izakaya Sense uses locally sourced fresh-water eel for its versatility and pronounced taste. Butchering an eel, however, is no easy matter. A chef must earn his stripes in mastering the Unagi knife. It takes five years to be proficient in this cutting tool according to consultant chef Nobuhide Andoh.

The protein-rich dishes are surefire palate pleasers. The kurikara (grilled stick unagi with teriyaki sauce and “Sansho Japanese Pepper” miso sauce) provides and interesting taste and texture contrast with its skin and meat. The grilled dish pairs perfectly well with an order of some sake shots, Japanese beer or whisky highballs from Chotto Matte, the bar operation of Izakaya Sensu.

Japanese Chef of Izakaya Sensu

The Ozaku (Unagi and Vinegared cucumber salad) and the Unagi Shira-Yaki (Grilled Unagi with wasabi and soy sauce) exhibit the absorbent quality of the eel. The Ozaku cleanses the palate like an atchara would.

Have a bowl of steaming rice topped with unagi with an order of Una-Don. Discover how unagi brings life to Omaki ( Japanese Omelette Wrapped Unagi) or enjoy its delightful crunch in Unagi Tempura (deep-fried Battered Unagi and Okra). Pay attention to the delicate taste of Unagi Chawan Mushi ( Japanese Steamed Egg with Unagi).

The dual-concept restaurant of Izakaya Sensu and Chotto Matte is a showcase of creativity and style that brings fun and excitement to the modern Filipino, while being true to its Japanese roots.

Enjoy the Unagi Festival more by availing yourselves of Chotto Matte’s buy-one-take-one offer on select cocktails from 2 to 7 p.m. everyday.

Izakaya Sensu/Chotto Matte is at the ground floor of Net Park, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tel no. 283-2979.

Image Credits: Cesar M. Cruz Jr.



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