Let’s play a little word association game. When I say “birthday,” what’s the next word that comes to mind?
For everyone who said “suit,” well, we’ve always suspected that at least a handful of people at any given moment are reading RocketNews24 while completely nude. Still, I’m guessing that far more of you thought of birthday parties and birthday cakes, which tend to go hand in hand. But what do you make the centerpiece of your birthday celebration edibles if sweets aren’t your thing?
Simple: you get a cake made of meat, like these carnivorous Japanese citizens.
When you consider the culinary landscape of Japan, a heaping helping of meat is every bit as decadent as a dessert of chocolate and cream. High-quality cuts are relatively expensive in Japan, and in many traditional and gourmet meals the few morsels of meat are more of a side dish than the main course.
さおりんこ@悲しみの忘れ方 (@saorin_ko1017) October 31, 2015
The most basic forms a meat cake can take are a slice of meatloaf or simple plate of meat with a birthday greeting like the one above. But this is Japan, where the presentation of a dish is considered by many to be almost as important as its flavor, so of course there are fancier designs as well.
プチミレ (@petitmilady) June 30, 2013
One of the most popular motifs is a flower, something that seafood restaurants have been doing for a while now with tuna sashimi “roses.” Here, slices of meat play the role of the blossoms’ petals.
肉ケーキ #黒岩家 https://t.co/Mx608TO0XF—
じゅんべろん (@junjunhimesama) October 21, 2015
Even more dynamic is creating an entire meat cake pedestal, which here looks to have a core of shredded cabbage.
お友達のお誕生日♡肉ケーキ＼(^o^)／ 美味しかったପ(⑅ˊᵕˋ⑅)ଓ旅行2件も楽しみすぎる！頑張って稼ぐ← そして今日は社長と焼肉www https://t.co/CGVEg7ZboJ—
♡momo♡ (@momoxminnie) October 20, 2015
And just because your birthday cake is made out of meat doesn’t mean it can’t have a candle.
初めての肉ケーキ♡ プレゼントまでなにまでほんとありがと〜(*^^*) https://t.co/sfISDAWA1m—
川上 知起 (@mrchildren1022) November 01, 2015
Or 17 candles, depending on your needs.
とんつう.bot (@tontsu_yakiniku) January 24, 2015
While some meat cakes appear to be homemade, others are prepared by yakiniku restaurants, such as the above example from Tontsu and the one below from Black Hole, both grill-your-own-meat joints in Tokyo.
ブラックホールと島津の肉アカ (@iloveyakiniku) June 29, 2015
So if you’re booking a birthday dinner for a meat-loving friend, consider asking the staff for one of these dessert alternatives. It just might be the perfect way to say “Happy birthday to moo.”