You might be wondering: Is Eel Sauce Vegan? Does the stuff have actual eel in it or any other fish? We're here to answer your questions...
Here's everything you need to know about the vegan status of eel sauce and what's made of...
Is Eel Sauce VegaN?
It's sometimes assumed that eel sauce contains eel as an ingredient, but the vast majority of eel sauces are actually vegan.
That said, there are some caveats, especially when it comes to eating out.
Let's dive right into what those might be...
What's Eel Sauce Made Of?
Most eel sauce recipes you'll come across (like this one) have the following as their main ingredients...
- Soy Sauce
Like we said, there usually isn't any eel as the base, except for a few (more rare) recipes that contained fish ingredients.
You be safe when you're shopping for a bottled eel sauce to keep at the ready in your kitchen, but it's always best to double check.
Is it Safe for Vegans to Eat Eel Sauce in Restaurants?
Most likely, but you should ask first.
As we mentioned, some recipes may contain dashi, a Japanese fish stock, or fermented eel eggs. But most restaurants are probably using vegan recipes or bottled vegan eel sauce.
What About Store-Bought Eel Sauce?
We did come across some concerns about certain ingredients found in a wide variety of store-bought condiments - eel sauce included.
We'll use Kikkoman Unagi Sushi Sauce as an example. Here are the ingredients listed for this eel sauce (linked above):
Ingredients: Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Vinegar, Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Xanthan Gum, Less Than 0.1% Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate As Preservatives.
Disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate are in bold because some sources report that these ingredients could be derived from animal sources.
Are They Animal-Sourced?
The Vegetarian Resource Group asked three major manufacturers to look into this, and in all three cases, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate were confirmed as plant-sourced.
Like the VRG, we find no reason to assume that these ingredients are problematic for vegans.
You can always contact a company representative to make sure the eel sauce you're eyeing is vegan-friendly, but there's no reason to fret, especially if you're just starting out on your vegan journey.
Keep veganism simple and look to avoid all BLATANTLY labeled animal ingredients. We don't believe there's any reason to fret about micro-ingredients that could go either way.
We give Kikkoman Unagi Sushi Sauce (and eel sauces without fish or eel eggs) the stamp of approval.