The Ameyoko block of Tokyo is a comprised of a busy market street lined with quaint little shops selling various foods, cosmetics and knick-knacks like clocks. You can expect to find just about anything in Ameyoko, which makes it the perfect location for Geinanhonbo, a whale-meat specialty shop, to open its newest branch.
At Geinanhonbo you can choose from 16 different cuts of whale meat from a giant fridge that takes up most of the shop space. Red meat cuts are relatively cheap, costing 380 yen per 100g (US$1.32/oz), but more expensive parts like the tail or jaw can run up to 2,800 yen per 100g ($9.84/oz). The store offers “almost every edible part of the whale” including the heart, which costs about as much as the red meat.
Geinanhonpo says that they use traditional methods of preparing the meat, which sacrifices the efficiency of most factory farms and fisheries but ensures a higher quality. They also claim that all their whale meat comes from minke and fin whales that were caught as a part of “whaling for scientific purposes.”
If you are looking for a taste of a vanishing food before it’s gone, this would be a great place to check out. Whale meat is a little oilier and saltier than fish, and goes great with beer. Some people say it tastes like beef or tuna, depending on the cut.
However, if you are on the other side of the debate about selling whale meat, make sure to leave this little shop alone and take the fight to the Japanese government. It’s fair to disagree with the practice and, in any case, the cuisine has probably run its course in Japan as the generations change.
Source: Ueno Keizai Shinbun (Japanese)