How Smoked Eel Has Risen in Popularity

Dubbed the ‘Bacon of the River’ in a Times article from last year, due to its rise in widespread popularity, smoked eel has transitioned from a niche delicacy to a sought-after ingredient over the last decade or so. Celebrated for its rich, nuanced flavour and versatility on menus and in kitchens across the world. 

Smoked eel offers a distinct taste experience, combining a rich, smoky essence with a buttery texture that melts in the mouth. This makes it an exceptional ingredient in a variety of dishes, from traditional sushi rolls to contemporary European cuisine, where it can add depth and complexity to salads, starters, and a range of protein-based main courses. Chefs and food enthusiasts alike are drawn to smoked eel for its ability to elevate a dish with its distinctive flavour.

smoked eel sandwich with onion pickle at Soho’s Quo Vadis

Smoked eel in fine dining

Meadowland Smokery supplies smoked eel to over 50 Michelin Star restaurants in the UK, which speaks volumes about the quality and desirability as a fresh product —and you’d only need to take a look at our Instagram feed to see the range of creative dishes being produced by the country’s most talented chefs. From the smoked eel sandwich with onion pickle at Soho’s Quo Vadis to Gigha halibut, to the smoked eel rosti, white onion puree and sea vegetables at Portland in West London, there’s no limit to the culinary heights that can reached using the humble smoked eel.

smoked eel broth with boiled egg

Health benefits of smoked eel

Aside from its culinary appeal, smoked eel is also recognised for its nutritional value. It's a great source of high-quality protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and reducing inflammation. The health-conscious market's growing interest in foods that offer both taste and nutritional benefits has played a significant role in the increased demand for smoked eel.

meadowland smokery nets


Sustainability is a major concern in today's food industry, and smoked eel is no exception. With the challenges facing eel populations, responsible sourcing has become a priority. Here at Meadowland Smokery, we’re committed to adhering to sustainable practices, ensuring that the popularity of smoked eel does not come at the cost of the environment. Consumers are increasingly looking for foods that are not only tasty and nutritious but also ethically sourced, and smoked eel meets both criteria.

How can we help?

Unique taste, versatile, beneficial to health, loved by both home cooks and high-end culinary establishments; smoked eel is well-positioned to remain a favourite in the kitchen for many years to come. If you’re interested in exploring the world of smoked eel, then please do get in touch.

Find out more about smoked eels

Posted by Jessica on January 29th 2024

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