Bringing smoked eel back to the states.

Jan 15th, 2009, 11:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Bringing smoked eel back to the states.

Has anyone done this? If so did it have to be vacuum packed?

We will be in the Netherlands in April and would love to bring some home with us. It is unheard of in the Shenandoah Valley, and no longer available from our NY source.
ronkala is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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In general, that is, in general, there is no problem bringing back commercially packed smoked fish in sealed vacuum bags.

Bringing back fish smoked by your aunt in a baggie is not a good idea. The beagle at Logan Airport in Boston loves the flights from Italy and Portugal when he catches the ladies in black dresses bringing in food.

I do not not know how different Dutch smoked eel is from Japanese smoked eel, but Japanese smoked eel is widely available in fish markets and Asian markets. Yum.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Last October I brought 40 fresh herring from Schiphol through DTW. They were vacuum packed by a haring stand in Haarlem. No labels, no nothing. Declared them and had no problem at Customs.

Customs did want to know about the origin of the cigars - Holland. JFK's silly executive order still prohibits Cuban cigars. WJC's silly executive order still prohibits Iranian carpets.

AFAIK, there is no prohibition on bringing fish home. I share your love of paling but I have not brought any home with me. I recommend that you have it vacuum packed and frozen before you leave NL. The texture might suffer but the flavor will remain. My haring are delicious after thawing, but you must eat them quickly thereafter.

OTOH, meat products are almost universally prohibited going and coming.

spaarne is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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Good luck! I was bringing in canned octopus and squid and had to explain to customs that they lived in the ocean and were not meat!
avalon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 12:57 AM
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I don't think Japanese smoked eels are smoked in the same way smoked eels are smoked - I believe the smoky flavour on Japanese eels comes from cooking them over charcoal, rather than hanging them in a smokehouse.
Paling is expensive nowadays, as eels are getting rarer. It is a fish that cannot be farmed succesfully, due to their need to spawn in the Sargasso Sea, and only in the Sargasso sea.

Many years ago, on Koninginnedag we went to a nearby village which had a big US airbase (long since closed). Every year there was a big market with music and partying. One of the stands was selling smoked eel. We were walking behind some Americans who saw the eels and declared - oh look they eat snake here too!
hetismij is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 05:43 AM
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You need to check with the guys who are checking your bags.

Here is a page answering the question what can I bring back from their website:
bdjtbenson is offline  
Jan 17th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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Thanks to all for your help. I don't think we'll have a problem if they are vacuum sealed.

Hetismij, live eels are a big export product to Europe from Virginia.
ronkala is offline  
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