Why we should eat it: Eels aren't snakes at all but a type of fish that lack pelvic and pectoral fins. As fish, they're a fantastic source of mega-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain a good amount calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, manganese, zinc and iron.
Unakyu is a common expression used for sushi containing eel & cucumber. As eel is poisonous unless cooked, eels are always cooked, and in Japanese food, are often served with tare sauce. Unagi that is roasted without tare and only seasoned with salt is known as "Shirayaki."
The cooking process is what makes the eel crisp and tender: The eels are first grilled over hot charcoal, then steamed to remove excess fat, then seasoned with a sweetish sauce and grilled a second time.
Eels taste really good. The texture of the meat is soft yet firm, has a nice chew on it, and it doesn't have that fishy aftertaste. The taste is just light, somehow like the taste of squid meat, only a with a pinch of sweetness.
Why are unagi/eels so damn expensive in Japan? Simply put, it's a rare luxury item, and Japanese love their unagi so they're willing to pay for it. The reason why they do it this way is that unagi are mostly freshwater. They are born in the ocean, migrate to rivers and then go back to the sea to begin the cycle again.