Unagi: A Japanese Summer Tradition

Unagi: A Japanese Summer Tradition
July 15, 2021

Doyo no Ushi no Hi (土用の丑の日) stands for unagi day. Just like how it sounds, Unagi Day is an annual occasion that falls on summer where Japanese eat freshwater eel to reap its health benefits – to be relieved of the summer’s brutal heat and humidity.

This year, the first day of the festive month is on July 19, and Doyo no Ushi no Hi falls on July 28 2021. 


Why do we eat Unagi in the summer?

It all started in the Edo period between 1603 and 1867. People believed that eating foods that began with the character “” (U) during the summer period would alleviate the side effects of extreme weather. 

Apart from this, the idea of eating Unagi in particular among all the other foods starting with U could have stemmed from the friend of an unagi restaurant named Hiraga Gennai. As the restaurant owner’s business started to decline, he consulted Hiraga Gennai for help. He then suggested that the restaurant owner take advantage of Doyo no Ushi no Hi to promote, because unagi is also a food that starts with う(U). 


Is it really that good for you?


The fact that unagi (freshwater eel) is full of vitamins and minerals is definitely not a myth! Packed with protein, omega-3, calcium, and even vitamin A, unagi is also believed to have the highest amount of unsaturated fatty acids than any other type of seafood.

Among the many other nutrients, the omega-3 fatty acids is found to improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and even relieve menstrual pain. Vitamin A  is also believed to preserve skin youth and slow down the formation of wrinkles and premature skin aging. 

Though it sounds too good to be true, the health benefits of unagi don’t stop there! Studies show that eating freshwater eel could potentially prevent breast cancer, improve memory and learning, and possibly reduce the risk of dementia.


Where can I find this delicious delicacy in Singapore?

Now having learned all the benefits of eating Unagi, you must be wondering where you can find the best value-for-money and delicious delicacy in Singapore. 


  • Man Man Unagi – Hitsumabushi ($35)




Located at Keong Saik Road, Man Man Unagi is known for its freshly char-grilled freshwater eel. 

Man Man Unagi’s iconic Hitsumabushi is meant to be eaten in three segments. First,  separate some of the charg-grilled eel slices and rice into another bowl and enjoy it with the provided seaweed and spring onions.

Secondly, separate out some of the Hitsumabushi again. But this time, savour it with the grated wasabi, sauce and Japanese spice mix.

Finally, scoop up the eel with some rice and pour in the dashi stock to end off your meal. Play around with the different flavours and enjoy! 

📍 1 Keong Saik Rd., #01-01, Singapore 089109
🕐 11.30AM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM, Daily


  • MOS Burger 

MOS Burger

MOS Unagi Burger

For an affordable and unique way to enjoy unagi this Doyo no Ushi no Hi, head down to MOS Burger for their seasonal limited Unagi Rice Burger! Instead of the classic Unagi Don at a restaurant, consider trying this unique way of enjoying unagi instead. Hurry and head down to MOS Burger to try it for yourself!

📍 Multiple Locations within Singapore


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Last Updated by yoshida