Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 319

Roasted Eel with Fermented Black Beans: As my readers probably know by now, I love any type of canned seafood I can get my hands on, especially smoked fish. When I saw this can of roasted eel during my last visit to the Hoa Binh Market on Buford Highway, I was immediately interested. One of my fave dishes at any sushi bar is the ubiquitous "BBQ" eel, and based on the packaging, this looked pretty similar.
Rather than being prepared BBQ style, these were actually roasted, with fermented black beans added. I haven't had great luck with any of the fermented/preserved foods I've tried lately, so I hoped these proved to be better. I didn't have plans to eat these today, but a friend from Virginia is visiting, and I actually let him pick something from my stash for me to try. If they were bad, it was gonna be his fault!

Once I got the pull-tab off the bottom of the can, I wasn't too surprised at what I found. The contents weren't as pretty as what you find at a sushi bar, and I'd probably be offended if this stuff was served as nigiri. However, it tasted much better than it looked. Like most eel I've had, it was fairly sweet, but much less moist than sushi-style BBQ. The black beans didn't really add much - there weren't that many anyway. There wasn't much oil in the can, and what was left in the bottom made the eel taste much better when used as a dipping sauce. Not bad.
Overall, these were a little drier and fishier than what I'm used to, but not a bad replacement if you're craving eel. You can probably find them (or something like them) at any Asian grocery.

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