Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hamamatsu Ya 浜松や - (Taipei, Taiwan)

 I love Eel a lot.    Although many of the unagi eels available on the market are now raised within China or Taiwan,  in reality,   river eels are known to only naturally breed in very specific spots in the ocean!     The returning juveniles swim all the way back to rivers just like they were already born intuitively with some GPS co-ordinated system,  sometimes they either make the full home run or end up getting caught in the net prematurely in places like England, Spain or Japan and are auctioned up by buyers for a premium.  The little wiggly things are then raised to full size before being sold off as fully grown up eels.   These baby eels are becoming more scarce each year and prices are on the rise,  and the whole entirety of river eels itself is becoming more endangered as we speak.   Let’s hope science will eventually work out a way to breed them indoors as this truly is a real delicacy! 



The Live Eels served in this Taipei shop are farmed and raised in Taiwan -
I forgot to ask where their baby eels were bought from in the beginning.  These are slaughtered and then grilled on the charcoal bed.




Hamamatsu Ya is more famous for their 3-4 way of eating the Hitsumabushi Eel Rice -
The rice is divided into quarters.  The 1st part to be eaten as is.  The 2nd quarter to be mixed with herbs, wasabi and seaweed strips.  The 3rd step is to add in the broth soup like an Ocha-Tsuke.   I think the 4th version is more invented during here,  as they suggest one to eat it with an Onsen Egg. 



Salad -
A spring salad with asparagus and baby corn.   ~  7/10




Live Shiro-Yaki Unagi  白焼き鰻 -
I was rather surprised how ‘muddy’ in flavour this tasted!  Usually farm raised eels don’t have this problem,  it’s only when they are caught from the wild when they carry the mud smell.   This was however lacking a bit of charcoal grilled flavours.  Another visit to another Taipei shop afterwards helped to prove this was underperforming indeed!  ~  6/10



The Signature Unagi-Mabushi  (鰻まぶし),  
otherwise known as Hitsuma-Bushi ( ひつまぶし) especially in Nagoya -



The Eel was really surprisingly devoid of Fat -
It was quite lean and there wasn’t much charcoal grilled flavour once again.  The Wasabi given wasn’t the freshly grated type either.    ~  6.9/10



The final Onsen Egg rice version -
~  6.9/10




A Tank of Live Eels -




All in All,
I have got to say I was disappointed in this meal.  I have always had the idea that Taiwanese-Japanese food is kind of imitating Japanese shops,  but attention to the most minor details might not be picked up over here.   For example,  the Grilling was a little off definitely,  the Kabayaki sauce wasn’t too sophisticated and missing real eel and eel bones contribution.   The white grilled version carried that obvious muddy note and the wasabi given was still a powdery type.   We also tried to order Grilled Unagi livers and their Livers Soup -  but despite us ordering freshly slaughtered eels,  the shop said they have already run out. Why am I paying a premium for killing some live eels then?   Eels are already a scarce commodity nowadays,  before I turn into a Vegan 1 day,  I think we should still respect their sacrifice of their lives for our own enjoyment.  Eye rolling smile




Price:   TWD $800 to $1000 Per Person
Food:  ♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -   11:30 am–2:00 pm, 5:30–10:00 pm

Address:  No. 22號, Lane 119, Línsēn North Rd, Zhongshan District  Taipei City, Taiwan
Ph:  +886 2 2567 5705


  1. 肥前屋 in Taipei isn't an eel specialist restaurant like this one per se, but they do sell a lot of unaju's, and I find the consistency of that to be pretty good. There's another unagi restaurant not too far from 肥前屋, Kyo or Kyoto unagi ryori, that does something similar. I do know that the owner of 肥前屋 is Japanese but he was born and raised in Taiwan. Try going to 肥前屋 during lunchtime, and you'll be able to order unagi liver skewers, good stuff.

  2. I went past 肥前屋 too which is in close proximity! It was so jam packed but I was left out of quota on that day! I ended up going to the other Kyoto House place which was much better! Thanks for the suggestions : )

  3. Actually the wait at 肥前屋 is never too horrid. Am told at most 20 to 30 minutes wait when there's a long line and first time I visited, the wait was about 10 to 15 mins. They are fairly quick and fast with turning around tables. The eels are grilled, steamed, then re-grilled so the exterior is crispy and the interior is soft. As far as the eel liver skewers, I found them to be more enjoyable than the Okinawan izakaya I went to in 2009 (where they covered it with too much sauce). I did have the pleasure in January of having fresh grilled eel liver skewer at Sushi Mori (Causeway Bay)...Mori-san carved out a live eel and I asked for the liver. I guess he didn't have time to give it a well deserve charcoal still came out ok, but nowhere near as robust as 肥前屋. Good to know Kyo(to) unagi ryori is solid. It's fun just watching the chefs from the window grilling the eels!



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