Is Unagi Sauce Vegan? What, exactly, is unagi sauce? Is it plant-based or animal-based? This article covers what you need to know...
Let's get right to the questions...
Is Unagi Sauce Vegan?
Most unagi sauces are indeed vegan.
The basics of homemade unagi sauce are mirin (Japanese rice wine), soy sauce and sugar. Store-bought unagi sauces may use slightly different ingredients, but they'll have a similar base.
Here's what's in Suzukatsu Sushi Unagi Sauce (linked above):
Ingredients: Soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat, salt), sugar, glucose syrup (corn starch, water), caramel color, monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
All vegan ingredients here! Most unagi sauces you'll find on the market are similar to this one (and vegan).
You won't likely be eating non-vegan unagi sauce at home, but what about in restaurants?
What is Unagi Sauce?
"Unagi" is the Japanese word that translates to "freshwater eel."
Unagi sauce, or eel sauce, is a condiment used in Japanese cooking to top grilled eel or unagi sushi. It's thick, sweet and salty.
What to Ask When Dining Out
That unagi sauce you want to try on a veggie (mainly sweet potato roll) the next time you go out for sushi is probably in the safe zone.
But you should use the same precautions with restaurant-prepared unagi sauce as you would with eel sauce.
The terms "unagi sauce" and "eel sauce" are often used interchangeably, and eel sauce *may* contain eel eggs or fish stock.
Thus, some unagi sauces may not be vegan, though you're most likely to encounter the plant-based ones - especially if you're dining in the States or a Western country.
To be sure, check with your server.