Jellied Eels Are a Thing And We’re Not Sure How We Feel About It

Photo: © Tim Macpherson/Getty Images

If tradition trumps flavor, you’ll want to head to the East End of London for a slimy delicacy that dates back to the 18th century. Though their popularity has diminished due to limited eel migration and the pretentiousness of younger generations (ugh, kids these days), jellied eels were once a primary food source for the city’s working class. In fact, they were about as English as pie and mash and all of the Queen Elizabeths.

What are Jellied Eels?

A traditional dish consisting of chopped freshwater eels, boiled and cooled to form a jelly. Basically any vegan's nightmare fully realized.

How are Jellied Eels Prepared?

The River Thames is teeming with thousands of the snake-like fish, which are caught either by line or basket (also known as an eel-buck). The eels are then butchered, chopped into pieces and boiled in water. Since the eel is gelatinous, it releases proteins like collagen, which naturally turn the liquid into jelly. And then voila! A jellied eel that gives grandma's raspberry jam a run for its money.

What do Jellied Eels Taste Like?

“Great—mild and slightly salty, not at all fishy," according to this guy. Those with texture aversions will surely think otherwise.

Where to Find Jellied Eels

Street stalls, as well as pie and mash resturants in London's East End.

How to Eat Jellied Eels

With a spoon. Toppings vary, but white pepper, herbs and malt vinegar are the most common options. We're thinking they would pair well with some eel sauce, but we're also sure that would be blasphemous to the preservation of British culture. And with Brexit on the horizon, we're not taking any chances.

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