Its commonly believed that naturally grown fish taste better than farmed fish. This misconception applies not only to unagi, and since only 3% of unagi is natural, the rarity tends to support this misconception. However, there is a farm grown unagi in Kagoshima that experts agree is better tasting than any naturally grown unagi.
Unagi has been enjoyed by Japanese since before the Manyo period, and unagi has been grown in the Fukagawa area of Tokyo as early as the Meiji era. Yet, the ecology of Japanese eels was a mystery for many years, and their spawning grounds were only discovered in 2009 near the Mariana Trench, 200km from Japan.The fingerling travel through the Pacific Ocean growing into young eels before moving into Asia Pacific.
The young eels make their way upstream in Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Kochi, and Shizuoka prefectures. This was one of the reasons that unagi farming became prevalent in Kagoshima, and now the prefecture is the top producer in Japan with most of the activity focused in Sou-gun, located on the east side of the Osumi peninsula. Taito Shouten is located in Osaki-cho, Soo-gun, in an area surrounded by farms. Taito is highly rated by unagi specialty shops around the country, and delivers farm grown unagi to eateries and retail stores around the nation. The warehouse was stocked with carefully selected unagi.
“Unagi farming is a big business in the Shibushi area because young eels are abundant. The availability of clean water and the great climate are also contributing factors. We have all the ideal elements for farming unagi.” (Keiichi Yokoyama, CEO of Taito Shouten)
The underground water is filtered over many years through the layers in the Shirasu Plateau. The unagi sold at Taito Shouten is void of any smells or disrupting flavors mainly due to the clarity of the water. Intent on providing unagi that is safe, they also do not use any feed containing steroids, allowing the unagi to grow at their natural pace. “Other brand unagi have been available, but very few growers took the time to sell the unagi themselves or interact with the chefs. As a result, it was hard to receive the well deserved praise, even if the products were of high quality. That’s why I decided to come up with a business scheme that allowed me to be involved from start to finish.” With round the clock care to maintain just the right temperature and water quality all throughout the year, the unagi is sure to turn out delicious. Taito Shouten offers unagi that puts naturally grown unagi to shame and is definitely worth a taste.
- Taito Shouten
- 1359-1 Karijuku, Osaki-cho, Soo-gun, Kagoshima
- TEL 099-479-4276 Business hours: 10:00-15:00 (closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays)