Edogawa Naramachi: 'The One with Unagi'
Hi Everyone! Today, we're taking a trip to Nara, Japan. This city was Japan's first permanent capital and is famous for its Deer Park, where you can take unlimited selfies with wild deer. This is a must-visit if you're ever in Japan. I found it to be a lot of fun. But, having fun makes me hungry so I'm glad we were able to visit Edogawa Naramachi.
First things first, reservations are recommended. There is usually a wait so if you're trying to conserve your precious time in Japan, you should call to reserve ahead of time. When you walk through the main entrance (past the shop), you will have to take off your shoes and place them in tiny lockers. Waitresses in kimonos will greet you and guide you to your table, which is a traditional-style floor level table. Overall, it's just a fun eating experience.
Anyway, I came here with my whole family. All 20 of us ordered more or less the same thing: unagi (grilled freshwater eel). Steph and I got the Sukiyaki set. It came with a bunch of small dishes, a generous sukiyaki bowl, and an unagi-don. At the reasonable price of 2,800 yen, or $24 USD, this was a pretty solid deal.
Anyway, if you're ever in Nara, go to Edogawa Naramachi for some awesome Unagi.
Address: 下御門町43, Nara, 奈良県 〒630-8365, Japan
Gobo Okara Soy Lees
Hone Senbei Fried Eel Bones
U-maki Eel Wrapped with Egg
Warabi Mochi, Anko, and Green Bean Mochi
Eel Liver (I didn't get to try this but you should)
We'll go in the order in which I devoured my set meal. First, I attacked the Assorted Tempura (see above). I didn't want that stuff getting cold and soggy. The shrimp tempura was accompanied with some mixed vegetable tempura. It's my favorite type of salad.
Next, I went for the actual salad (see above). Nothing too crazy here. Just a simple salad with some greens, sliced tomato, and onion. The dressing was refreshing, tasting primarily of salt and vinegar.
Next, I reached over to some miscellaneous mash of food (see above). At first glance, I could not tell if it was a vegetable or a fish. Upon tasting it, I quickly realized it was Gobo, or Burdock Root. But, it was still covered in something unfamiliar. The waitress explained that it was Okara, or Soy Lees. I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't identify that myself because I think Soy Lees is an interesting product. It's the by-product of tofu or soy milk. It's essentially the leftover shell casings from the soybeans. Also, it's high in fiber AND protein!
The Gobo Okara was light, chilled, and revitalizing. The Okara gave the dish a good bean-like taste. The Gobo was mild in flavor, earthy, and a bit sweet. If you like to cook or prepare food, try making this for snacking purposes. It can help curb hunger.
Next, I went for the Beef Sukiyaki (see above). I didn't go for this first because when it arrived at our table, it was still boiling! The Sukiyaki was situated atop a tiny candle that was keeping its metal bowl warm. The broth, the vegetables, and the tofu were all very tasty.
However, the meat was pretty poor quality. It was a bit tough, way too fatty, and it was just one huge piece that was too difficult to eat. On the bright side, the fat from the beef melted into the broth, which was delicious. I didn't bother finishing the beef though.
We also had some U-maki, which was Eel Wrapped in Egg (see above). The egg was basically tamago, which is a type of Japanese omelet. It's soft, fluffy, and sweet. It's made with layers and layers of cooked egg.
There was one thing that we ordered a la carte: the Hone Senbei, or Fried Eel Bones (see above). This was pretty interesting. The eel bones were crunchy like crackers. It tasted a little bit fishy but it was more salty and crispy than anything else. If you get the chance, you should try it out!
Finally, the unagi-don was glorious (see above). Sorry, I don't have a zoomed in photo but, for a place that's famous for its unagi, you can trust that it's pretty good. The unagi was so delicately grilled. The meat itself was tender and fatty. I really enjoy the typical unagi sauce, which is basically a thickened sweet soy sauce.
FUN FACT: Eel is rich in vitamins (A, B, D, and E) and omega-3 fatty acids. But, watch out for its high cholesterol levels. You don't want to eat more than an a fillet of eel per day.
Lastly, we had some dessert, which was just Warabi Mochi, Anko (Red Bean Paste), and Green Bean Mochi (see above). My favorite was the Warabi Mochi, which is Bracken Starch Jelly. It is covered in Kinako, or Toasted Soybean Flour. It's like mochi but a bit softer in texture. The Kinako is also an interesting flavor that is reminiscent of maple syrup. It's also a little nutty in flavor.