I'm all for trying weird new food. So when these little babies turned up at our tapas table in Serrano, Madrid, and at least two of our party cringed and pushed their stools back a bit, I thought 'Great. All the more for me!' :)
The truth is, not all my experiments with weird food end well. I tried pig's ears in Madrid last month (more on that in another post), unknowingly ate frog ovary fat in Taipei (probably wouldn't have eaten it if I had known what it was!) and once ate a truly disgusting durian sweet that resembled something someone with bronchitis had coughed up - it looked, smelled and tasted vile!
But thankfully, these little eels - angulas, as they are called in Spain and elver eels elsewhere - ended up being one of my more successful weird food experiments.
If you took the angulas out, the rest of that particular tapas creation was fairly run of the mill - salmon wrapped around a cream-cheesy filling. But the angulas gave it real bite. Slightly fishy, a little vinegary... a nice little touch to top off a classic combination.
Although the eels look like little babies, don't get too squeamish as they are actually almost 2-3 years old by the time they get to the size they are in the image. And although they might also look as though they were still moving when I took this picture, thankfully they weren't.
Turns out angula are fairly pricey, so in recent years the ever resourceful Japanese have found an answer for the everyday angula-lover - faux angulas called 'gulas' made from surimi.
The best way to know if you are eating the real thing is to look closely for the little eel eyes and little eel smiles.
But don't look too long... it may make you change your mind about biting off the teeny little heads, which - in the world of tasty weird food experiments - would be real shame.
Named Best Blog for Food & Travel
Top 10 UAE Food Blogs in UAE