I've written about some of the odd foods I've come across in Japan. I thought I'd introduce this delicacy.
One of my students brought me some cookies from her college town. These are very famous cookies/biscuits that are absolutely delicious and a bit pricey. In Japanese they are called Unagi Pie. They are very, very light, buttery, sweet, crispy cookies and they are made of eel. Yes! Eel! The long slimy things that swim in the sea!
It seems the town is famous for eel (which I swear is also delicious) and they had all these eel bones left over so someone got the great idea of pulverizing them, making them into powder and adding them to cookies. One of the strangest ideas in Japan I think, but actually there must only be a trace of eel powder in there because there is not a hint that these pastries are anything but elegant tea time snacks. My friends and I enjoyed them yesterday and we commented as always about the lack of eel taste. Reading the back of the package one of us noticed that among the ingredients there was also listed garlic. What? There is not a trace of garlic in this cookie! (We had to have another bite to check.) Nope absolutely delicious.
I think of these as tea time cookies but please notice the English on the packaging. Do I even want to go any further with this? Eel is supposed to give a person stamina in the long hot exhausting days of summer... Nights? Maybe another reason these are so popular.