Unagi: Shirayaki vs. Kabayaki

When it comes to the Japanese dish using the freshwater eel Unagi, Unagi no Kabayaki (うなぎの蒲焼) is quintessential and one of the exquisite, as you may know.

But have you ever heard of Unagi no Shirayaki (うなぎの白焼き)?

Unagi no Shirayaki (うなぎの白焼き)

Anago no ShirayakiAnago no ShirayakiImage: Wikipedia

Unagi no Shirayaki is a dish made of Unagi eel using the cooking method called Shirayaki (白焼き).

The style is like being on the opposite side of Kabayaki (蒲焼).

vs. Kabayaki

Unagi no KabayakiUnagi no Kabayaki

For people unfamiliar with Japanese food, Unagi no Kabayaki is a dish of Unagi eel whose preparation is like this.

  1. The eel is split down the back (or belly), gutted and boned, butterflied, cut into rectangle fillets, skewered, and grilled over a direct flame without using oil.
  2. Then, it is dipped in a thick sweet Tare sauce made from dark soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake and further cooked over the fire.

Cook Unagi Eel using the Shirayaki Method

In contrast, Unagi no Shirayaki doesn’t use any seasoning or sauce during cooking.

Shirayaki, a Japanese cooking style where food is cooked over a direct flame without using oil and is neither seasoned nor flavored, has another name Suyaki (素焼き).


Unagi no Shirayaki with Wasabi

Since Shirayaki doesn’t use any seasoning or flavoring, the most crucial element in the dish Unagi no Shirayaki is the eel itself (Ex. whether it is wild or raised, the production area, the water and feed used for it). 

By the way, Japanese people often eat Unagi no Shirayaki with Wasabi Shoyu (ワサビ醤油: grated Japanese horseradish and soy sauce).

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 白焼き, 蒲焼 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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