Feature image courtesy of Phillymag.com
Zama located on 128 S. 19th St. will be giving away free eel to all their patrons in celebration of the Day of the Ox. All diner patrons will be served a comped amuse bouche of uzaku which is essentially BBQ eel with lightly pickled cucumber, sunomono style, on Tuesday, July 29.
Eating eel on the Day of the Ox is a Japanese tradition. Those who eat eel on this day “Doyo no Ushi” Day in the summer, won’t suffer from the heat. This is always done 18 days before the start of autumn on in the ancient calendar, which has autumn starting August 18th.
This tradition was said to have started started during the Edo period (1603-1868) when an eel shop owner asked a famous scholar for his advice on how to sell more eels in the summer. The shop owner than recalled a folklore that stated if someone eats a food starting with the letter “u” they won’t feel the heat. In Japan eel is called “unagi.” The scholar then advised the shop owner to put the “Day of the Ox” sign on his store and eventually shops throughout Japan did the same thing and the tradition was born.