July 21, 2016 5:19 am JST

Catfish raised to taste like eel in Japan

Looks like catfish, but tastes like eel.

OSAKA -- How do you make catfish smell and taste like eel? Ask one Japanese professor.

Grilled eel has long been traditional midsummer fare in Japan, but this year, some stores will carry a version made with catfish raised specially for the purpose.

Retail group Aeon will sell about 7,000 portions of catfish kabayaki starting Saturday, according to Kindai University's Masahiko Ariji, who developed the substitute for increasingly rare unagi freshwater eel.

By raising catfish in well water on feed he blended himself, Ariji managed to tone down their characteristic odor and give them the fattiness that eel lovers relish, he says. 

He reached this breakthrough last year and plans to ship more than 10,000 of these catfish to supermarkets and department stores from April to August.

This year's doyo no ushi no hi, the day according to the old Japanese calendar that has become synonymous with eating eel, falls on July 30. Kabayaki, a popular way to enjoy eel, consists of a grilled filet, liberally basted with a sweetened soy sauce before going on the grill again.

The university runs restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo's upscale Ginza district that will serve a dinner of catfish kabayaki with rice for 2,000 yen ($18) that day. 

Ariji is working on other recipes for his catfish, including raw sliced sashimi, and hopes to sell them year-round.

(Nikkei)

AEON Co., Ltd.

Japan

Market(Ticker): TKS(8267)
Sector:
Industry:
Retail Trade
Food Retail
Market cap(USD): 13,264.9M
Shares: 871.92M

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

Resubscribe now to continue reading.
BEST OFFER:
Only US$ 9.99 per month for a full-year subscription

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.