A quick discovery of our shared love for unagi led Kodai, Kyohei, Carly and I to brave the 45 minute wait for grilled eel goodness. Unagi is famously known to be a Japanese summer delicacy, because the Japanese believe it gives them strength to get through the long, hot summer days. “Makes you feel more genki,” is what I was told. Yoshizuka Unagi, located along the Nakasu canal with its weeping trees, makes for a delightful lunch. I’m pretty sure I don’t need it to be summer to be presented with a lacquered box of deliciousness – could do with a bit more genki-ness all the time.
I had the jo unagi don set – three pieces of perfectly grilled eel, beautifully slathered with the restaurant’s signature dark sweet sauce. The smokey flavour really comes through in the eel, and the edges are happily crisp while the meat flakes off gently with a prod of my chopsticks. I also really appreciated the absence of chewy skin beneath the meat, those can be so frustrating to chew through sometimes and really don’t hold flavour like the meat does. Also ordered the unagi chawanmushi, my first time having chilled chawanmushi with two generous pieces of unagi hidden within the egg custard along with meat, gingko, mushroom and prawns. Delicious, but I still prefer having a warm one.
If you’re feeling up for a treat – get the bento box of kabayaki unagi. Here’s the toku kabayaki bento ordered by Kyohei; a mountain of beautifully grilled unagi stacked atop steaming rice. Coming accompanied with dipping sauce, so you can drench these umami-filled gems to your liking. It’s recommended to eat them with shichimi (spice powder), but I didn’t feel the need to since it was absolutely palate pleasing enough on it’s own.
The restaurant opens at 11 but queues are snaking – just like the delicacy they serve. Utterly worth the trip down and the wait! We wanted to order the senbei made from eel bones, but they were sold out at 1230. Even in the middle of the afternoon the queues don’t dissipate. Unfortunately they don’t take reservations unless you order a kaiseki set, but set aside time for this, you won’t be disappointed.
Yoshizuka Unagiya 吉塚うなぎ屋
2-8-27 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka