Kata Robata Chef Manabu Horiuchi Breaking Down an Eel Is Downright Meditative [Video]

It's that special time again. Time to round up top posts from our recent past, and since we love y'all so much, we thought we'd throw in this super zen-like video of Chef Hori breaking down an eel at Kata Robata.

For the past month, the Press has delved into the seedy world of seafood via the Before You Eat That series, which broaches all the annoying food subjects that make you highly uncomfortable.It's basically for schadenfreude-obsessed killjoys. Catch up on all the craziness below and have a great weekend.

Chef Hori prefers anago (left and middle) to unagi (right) at Kata Robata.
Chef Hori prefers anago (left and middle) to unagi (right) at Kata Robata.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Before You Eat That Eel:  Unagi's Days Are Pretty Much Numbered

There are poachers in Maine who've been stealing baby eels, known as elvers, the going rate for which happens to sit at around $1,500 per eel. In Japan, where freshwater eel, or unagi, is basically a way of life, the population has been on a severe decline, to the point of almost being wiped out, and things are getting pretty dire. The country added its freshwater Anguilla japonica as an endangered species in 2013 after seeing a 90 percent decline over three generations. It's said the Japanese consume 70 percent of the world's freshwater eel. It's just that the unagi situation is also now bleeding over into the States.

40 percent gonad, dude.
40 percent gonad, dude.
Photo courtesy of The General Public

Before You Eat That Oyster: Do You Know About Its Huge Gonad?

It's June, not exactly a month most people associate with sitting around downing a dozen raw oysters, but these are modern times, and modern oysterwomen and men have access to technology that allows for safe summertime fishing and transportation of bivalves. Refrigeration right on the boat allows for oysters to be brought safely to market and restaurants, and a close eye is kept on the health of the waters they're raised in, so that old R rule — eat them only in months that contain an "r" in their spelling — is sort of obsolete.

Charbroiled baby red snapper at Red Snapper Inn.
Charbroiled baby red snapper at Red Snapper Inn.
Photo by the Houston Press

Before You Eat That Red Snapper: The Fish Is Basically Plagued By Endless Fraud

Red snapper is one hell of a divisive fish. Among Texas anglers, big time regulations make it a contentious subject between recreational and commercial factions. Among restaurants in America, the Congressional Research Service reported in 2015 that 77 percent of red snapper being served in the country was not actually red snapper at all with Pacific Rockfish and tilapia often used as menu counterfeits, Forbes reported last fall. In January of this year, UCLA researchers also found that among 26 Los Angeles sushi restaurants, fish labeled as tuna was always tuna, but all orders of red snapper turned out to be other fish, with DNA testing to back up those claims.

Oporto's grilled octopus, a Houston favorite.
Oporto's grilled octopus, a Houston favorite.
Photo by Troy Fields

Before You Eat That Octopus: Is It Too Smart To Eat?

Octopus may be a great low-fat option for seafood lovers, but for some people, it's too intelligent, and far too superior an animal to eat.

"Like dolphins," a colleague recently said when I shared with him how, several months ago over a candlelit dinner at New Orleans's famed bohemian wine yard Bacchanal, I'd been chastised by a group of young novelists for ordering octopus, the chargrilled dish arriving to a series of hushed tsk-tsks the way only a group of young novelists dressed as they were, in zombie and cowboy Halloween attire, can effectively provide while pawing at beef carpaccio, kale salads and short ribs.

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