Dish of the Day: Unadon

Dish of the Day: Unadon

What Is Unadon?

Unadon is a Japanese dish which consists of steamed white rice bowl topped off with grilled eel. The word, “Unadon” is derived from a combination of the Japanese word for eel, unagi and the Japanese word for rice bow, donburi. The bones are removed from the eel and grilled. The eel fillet is glazed with a sweetened dark soy sauce, mirin and sake.

You can sprinkle some Japanese ground pepper for extra spice. There are different variations to the dish in the way that it is served and the grilling method of the eel. The dish can be called by many names. When it is served in a jubako or tiered lunch boxes, the dish is known as unaju whereas the dish is known as nagayaki, when the rice and eel are served separately.

In the Kanto region, the eel is steamed before it is grilled whereas in the Kansai region, there is no steaming involved before it is grilled.

History Of Unadon

Unadon is the first-ever donburi dish invented in the late Edo period by a man named Imasuke Okubo. It became popular around the neighbourhood where Nakamura-za and Ichimura-za is at. The first restaurant to sell it as a dish was said to be Onoya Restaurant in Fukiyacho district.

Unadon Recipe


  • 2 fillet of unagi

(Unagi Sauce)

  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of mirin
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of sake


  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. Add mirin, sake and sugar in a saucepan to make the unagi sauce. Heat it and mix it together on medium heat. Add in the soy sauce and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and leave it to simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  3. To prepare the unagi fillets, preheat the oven to 290°C for about three minutes. While it is preheating, you can cut the unagi eel into half or into a size to fit your serving bowl. Line aluminium foil on a baking sheet and brush a light coat of oil on top of it. Place the unagi slices on top of the foil. Place the baking tray inside your oven. Leave it to broil for 5-7 minutes. Take it out and brush on the unagi sauce on top. Put it in the oven for another 30 to 60 seconds.
  4. Brush the rest of the unagi sauce on top of the rice. Serve the unagi fillets on top of the rice and serve while it is hot.


  1. You can find vacuumed sealed unagi at your nearest Japanese stores.
  2. You can opt for pre-packed Japanese unagi sauce to save time. If not, then you can also follow the recipe above to make your own. The consistency of the sauce will thicken over time. You can store it for over two weeks.

Nutritional Benefits of Unagi

  • It can help ease menstrual pain.
    Unagi has a healthy amount of saturated fat, and it is said that it is a natural anti-inflammatory food and relieves cramps from menstruation.
  • It can help reduce wrinkles.
    Unagi is rich in Vitamin A which is a natural anti-ageing component commonly used in skincare products. It is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which promotes soft and healthy-looking skin.
  • It can improve overall health.
    Unagi can help reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes. It can also help promote blood flow in the brain, improving your memory and learning processes.

Where To Get Unadon In Malaysia

Unadon can be easily found at any Japanese restaurants in Malaysia. Some Japanese restaurants you can visit to get a taste of the dish are Sushi Zanmai, Jyu Raku and Tokyo Don.

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Article Written By Anna

Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.

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