Fish Fillet Barbecue or a sauce-barbecued fish fillet
The name of the game of Kabayaki is its Tare (sauce) used for broiling. The ingredients are the same, but how to elaborately blend Shōyu, sugar, Mirin (low-alcohol Sake for cooking) and Sake decides the taste and that pleasant baking aroma of the cuisine. But of course, that’s not all. The overall flavour is created by the combination of Tare and the foodstuff. Even though the eel is the most popular Kabayaki material, there are more. For example, Anago (a kind of conger) has a very similar taste as the eel but less greasy, Hamo (a dagger-tooth pike conger) tastes a little grainy, and the sardine and saury also make delicious Kabayaki. By the way, the name Kabayaki doesn’t mean to grill (Yaki) a hippo (Kaba), but it derives from the appearance of the cooked food, which looks like a piece of birch bark (Kaba: birch) or a cattail ear (the kanji 蒲 represents the plant).
(Photo: Kabayaki of eel.)