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Video introduction - Craftsmanship of Kyoto Eel Specialty Restaurant

This video, titled "Kyogoku Kaneyo: A Grilled Eel Master in Kyoto|the Art of an Eel Master Who Has Been Serving Grilled Eel for 58 Years" (58年間ひたすら鰻を焼き続けた鰻爺の職人技「京極 かねよ」), was uploaded by "WAZAIRO."
It showcases the artisanal skills of the chef, from how the unagi (freshwater eel) is prepared to how the fluffy Japanese omelette is placed on top.

What Is Kabayaki?

Image of eel kabayaki
Photo:Eel kabayaki

Kabayaki is a method of cooking used in Japan wherein long, thin, scaleless fish are skewered and grilled in a teriyaki style (grilled while covered in a sweet soy sauce marinade).
In Japan, this style of cooking is mainly used to prepare eel, but is also used to cook a number of other fish.

Records show that kabayaki has existed in Japan since at least the late 1,300s, although the cooking method was different than that of modern day kabayaki.

Chawanmushi, the Perfect Umami Flavor to Go With Your Unagi

Image of Chawanmushi

The video shows the atmosphere of the restaurant and you can hear all of the appliances, etc. used in the restaurant as well. The chawanmushi (Japanese steamed egg custard), which can be ordered for 600 yen, is a must-try.
[Video] 0:45 - How Chawanmushi is Made

Kansai-Style vs Kanto-Style Eel – The Different Styles of Eel in Japan

After sitting in an ice bath for some time, the eels are then skillfully prepared by the chef. Although "Kaneyo" is a restaurant in Kyoto, they use the Kanto-style of preparing and grilling eels, known as "Edoyaki."

Let's take a look at the differences between Kansai-style and Kanto-style eel.

Kansai-style: The eels are opened from the belly, skewered without being steamed, and then grilled with the head still on the skewer and removed later.
Kanto-style: The eels are opened from the back, steamed, skewered, and the head is removed before grilling.

In the video, the eel is dexterously skewered and steamed by the chef. The steamed eel is dipped into the sauce and then broiled. The eels are grilled rapidly, with the cooking conditions carefully monitored by the skilled chef.
[Video] 2:04 - Preparing and Cooking Eel

What is Kinshi-don? The Specialty of Kyogoku Kaneyo

Image of kinshi-don

kinshi-don is the signature dish of Kyogoku Kaneyo, but what is it exactly? Kinshi-don refers to an eel bowl with a fluffy Japanese egg on top. In the video, you can see how the fluffy egg is cooked between two stoves with different heat levels, adjusting the heat to get the perfect omelette.
The resulting dish, with a large, fluffy egg protruding from the bowl is both photogenic and delicious! Underneath the egg you'll find the perfectly cooked eel. Peeling back the egg to see the delicious eel underneath is part of what makes this dish such a treat.
[Video] 15:40 - Cooking the Egg Used for Kinshi-don

A Summertime Eel Eating Tradition in Japan

Image of unaju

Eel is known to be rich in vitamins, and as such, it became tradition to eat it during the summer months to ward off the fatigue caused by Japan's hot summers.
The most common day for this is Doyo no Ushi no Hi, or "The Midsummer Day of the Ox." In 2023, this day falls on July 30 (Mon.).
If you're looking to try some tasty Japanese eel, consider trying it on a hot summer day to beat the heat!

Unagi vs Anago: The Different Types of Eel in Japan

Image of anago (conger eel) sushi
Photo:Anago (conger eel) sushi

There are two types of eel commonly eaten in Japan: unagi and anago.
Unagi is a freshwater eel, whereas anago (conger eel) is a saltwater eel.

In terms of flavor, unagi (うなぎ) is known to have a richer flavor, while anago are said to have a lighter flavor. Because of this, unagi is often prepared in a kabayaki style, while anago is often steamed or prepared as tempura.

As for nutrients, unagi generally has far more vitamins than anago.

Kyogoku Kaneyo, a Restaurant in Kyoto You Don't Want to Miss!

Kyogoku Kaneyo is located in downtown Kawaramachi, in the Nakagyo Ward of Kyoto. Founded in the early Taisho period (1912-1926), the restaurant boasts a traditional Japanese atmosphere and the same delicious taste, with eel grilled using a secret sauce that has been passed down for 100 years.
The superb dishes have even earned it a spot in the Kyoto Michelin Guide.

The second-floor tatami room has a relaxing atmosphere, and yose performances are held there each month. If you're into rakugo and other Japanese performance arts, we recommend checking it out.

◆Kyogoku Kaneyogura◆
【Address】456 Matsugaecho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8034
【Closed】Closed on Wednesdays
【Parking】No private parking lot, please use a nearby paid parking lot
-From JR Kyoto Station, take the No. 5 city bus to Kawaramachi Sanjo (河原町三条) and walk 2 minutes.
-A 5-minute walk from Kyoto City Hall on the Tozai Subway Line
-A 5-minute walk from Sanjo Keihan Station on the Keihan Main Line

Written By
Last Updated : Jul. 16, 2023
鈴木実鈴(Misuzu Suzuki)
Well-paced, easy-to-read writing for everyone! I am writer and a mother.
Kyogoku Kaneyo – A Kyoto Michelin Guide Kabayaki Restaurant Famous for Their Specialty Eel Dish, Kinshi-don
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