Scientists Invent New Eel-Flavored Catfish, Netizen Reactions

A serving of delicious eel. Or is it catfish?

A serving of delicious eel. Or is it catfish?

Unagi, or freshwater eel, is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and these days dishes such as unadon can be found in Japanese restaurants around the world. However, as unagi has increased in popularity as a food, the global population of freshwater eels has decreased rapidly, and scientists have been struggling to come up with a solution.

Late last month, marine biologists at Kindai University announced that they have developed an eel-flavored catfish for use as an alternative ingredient for cooking. Netizen responses have varied widely: some are eager to try the new fish; some are unimpressed, pointing out that the real flavor in unagi dishes comes from the kabayaki sauce; and others have suggested that trying salt-water eels as a replacement might be a better use of resources.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Kindai University Aquaculture: Our Next Strategy! A Test-Tasting Event for “Eel-Flavored Catfish”

Kindai University has developed catfish that tastes like freshwater eel. In midsummer (on July 24), specialty farmed-fish restaurants in Osaka and Tokyo they’re calling “Kindai University Marine Labs” will be selling kabayaki -style catfish food boxes (2,200 yen), limited to 30 meals each.

Due to a sharp decline in the numbers of juvenile freshwater eels, the domestic supply of freshwater eel has dropped to about one third of what it was before 2015. After consulting with merchants, Associate Professor Ariji Masahiko focused on catfish, which are perfect candidates for aquaculture. He researched water quality and feed combinations, and cultivated an eel flavor over the course of six years.

He removed the earthy flavor of catfish by raising the fish in groundwater and reproduced the fat content, scent, and flavor of freshwater eel through a combination of seven types of feed. A staff member expressed high hopes, saying, “We’d like it to catch up with eel in terms of popularity, too.” [Yoshida Takuya]

Comments from 2ch.net:

名無しさん@1周年:

It’s because it’s catfish.

名無しさん@1周年 :

No, it’s ‘cos the sauce is everything.

名無しさん@1周年:

It’s a long way from the “Unagi Inu,” huh?

名無しさん@1周年:

Let’s make eel-flavored cabbage and become a vegetarian society.

名無しさん@1周年:

Next time, take on the challenge of the catfish-flavored eel!

名無しさん@1周年:

Well, at least it’s not Umaibo

名無しさん@1周年:

Are they also doing research for curry-flavored poop?

名無しさん@1周年:

There’s no demand for something like a Watanabe Naomi that seems like a Kiritani Mirei.

名無しさん@1周年 [in response to above]:

No, there must be a demand for that!

名無しさん@1周年:

Kindai University will just do anything, huh?

名無しさん@1周年:

I wonder how it is? Isn’t eel largely dependent on the flavor of the kabayaki sauce anyways?

名無しさん@1周年:

Couldn’t they just use salt-water eels and not do something scary like developing a living creature?

名無しさん@1周年:

The Kindai University fisheries are really putting serious effort into this food, huh? w

名無しさん@1周年:

Now come up with a fish that tastes like the sauce we put on the eel

名無しさん@1周年:

Is catfish cheap?

名無しさん@1周年:

Don’t tamper with life!

名無しさん@1周年:

To be honest, I’d be fine with just eating salt-water eel.

名無しさん@1周年:

I wanna try it!

名無しさん@1周年:

If it’s this price as a test product, I wonder if they’ll cut the price by 1,000 yen once they start mass production.

名無しさん@1周年:

As long as the texture is the same, everything else can be covered up with the sauce.

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  • Dan

    I’d love to try it out at least! Though, the sauce is probably indeed where the flavor comes from,… but I wouldn’t mind testing out the catfish. It’s rare that I can find something new to try to eat because I’m a picky eater, so this is pretty interesting to me.

  • Gerhana

    but catfish taste so goooood. I prefer it even more than salmon… Why change its flavour?

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Read the beginning of the article again…

  • risotto

    It’s like an affront to nature, yet my mouth is watering. Broil it, sauce it up, put it over fresh steamed rice, and wash it down with a Chuu-Hi…

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