The latest craft beer to hit the market in Japan is so unusual that its release has been limited to 3,000 bottles. Called Hoya Ale, the beer itself sounds innocent enough, but when you find out that Hoya is an edible marine animal commonly known as the sea squirt, you might actually need some liquid courage before guzzling it down.
There are a couple of distinct price tiers to seafood in Japan. Squid and octopus tend to be very budget-friendly, with a step up in price for sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. Among the most premium offerings of all is where you’ll find salmon roe, or ikura as it’s known in Japanese.
Due to its high cost, ikura is usually served in modest quantities, sometimes seeming more like a garnish than a legitimate component of the meal. However, that’s not the case at these four Tokyo restaurants, which dish up such generous portions that their ikura literally overflows the bowl.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and while in many other countries that may send men scurrying out to buy roses or jewelry for their lady-love, in Japan the holiday is all about women giving their romantic partner chocolates.
But what if your sweetheart doesn’t have a sweet tooth? Well, as long as he’s got a taste for dairy and seafood, why not go with the mature alternative of fish cakes stuffed with cream cheese? And don’t worry about that combination being less romantic than sugary chocolate, because they’re still shaped like little hearts.
In a lot of ways, convenience stores in Japan are more like miniature supermarkets. So while they still sell a lot of the candy and canned beverages their counterparts in other countries specialize in, you can also find plenty of edible, even gourmet-sounding food.
For example, the chain FamilyMart sells pouches of fried scallop meat, specifically the mantle, or part of the animal that attaches it to its shell. There’s a certain level of risk that comes with eating any mass-produced foodstuff, though, as one customer found out when he found what he felt was a foreign object in his pack of marine mollusks. And while generally the only thing you want to find in your food is, well, food, we suppose if we had to find something else mixed in there, we’d want what he discovered hiding in his snack: a pearl.
You may be familiar with oysters as the delicious seafood best eaten raw (or as ice cream) and served in months ending in “r,” but did you also know the little guys have impressive filtering skills that can clean even the dirtiest water?
Eating its fill of plankton and other particles floating around, a fully grown oyster can filter more than 50 gallons (189 liters) of seawater in one day. After seeing a few videos demonstrating this cleaning ability, some Japanese netizens started to question just how appetizing this made the once delicious-looking oyster.
Let’s say you’re designing a menu for a restaurant, and you want to serve parfaits. More precisely, you want to serve as many different kinds of parfaits as you can think up. How far do you think you could make it towards that goal before things got completely crazy?
Apparently the tipping point to culinary weirdness is about 195 varieties. How did we calculate that? Well, on a recent visit to Kyoto, we found a café that has about 200 different types of parfaits, including five that’re topped with things like corn dogs and deep-fried prawns.
With beautiful natural scenery, delicious food, and an unhurried atmosphere, Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. There’s one big drawback, though, which is that airfare to and from Hokkaido can eat up a big part of your travel budget, leaving you less cash to spend on a hotel with nice amenities or local delicacies like fresh salmon roe and scallops.
Recently, though, we found a hotel in Hokkaido that offers it all, with soft beds, all-you-can-eat seafood, an all-night hot spring, and even a price that makes it a very affordable luxury.
In many cases, the Japanese language uses the word umi, literally “sea,” to mean “beach.” For example, if your friends extend the invitation, “Hey, let’s go to the umi next Saturday!” they’re expecting you to show up with a towel and sunscreen, not a compass and cutlass for fending off pirates as you sail your ship full of cargo to the Bahamas to exchange for molasses.
So when we first heard about a restaurant in Kyushu right in the middle of the umi, we thought it was built on the sand. And while we like an eatery with an ocean view as much as anyone, the reality is even cooler, as the restaurant is actually built off-shore, with half of its seating area below the surface of the water.
The Octopus is a mysterious creature. So mysterious he has even been suspected of murder. But in Japan, the octopus is usually first met on the plate. Whether as an ingredient in salad or Sexual Harassment sushi the octopus is considered the most efficient seafood because there is no waste–every part of the octopus is eaten–even the head.
Today, we invite you along on a virtual octopus hunt. Join our cephalopod-hunting reporter as she shows you not only how to catch an octopus, but how to turn its head inside out. As an added bonus, by the end of the article, you’ll have a full understanding as to why the mollusk’s scientific name is “octopus vulgaris.”
Are you bored of the same old Japanese food and looking to try something new, exciting and a little strange? From potentially life-threatening to overwhelmingly pungent odors to just plain odd, here’s a list of 20 of the weirdest Japanese delicacies from the sea. If you are feeling a little bit curious and want to expand your Japanese cuisine horizons, click the link to find out more!
Among the many colorful expressions in Japanese you’ll find kuwazu girai, which is used to describe a knee-jerk dislike to something unfamiliar before you’ve given it a fair shot. Kuwazu girai literally translates to “hating it without having eaten it,” and it was exactly the problem restaurateur Himi Okajima was having at his eatery, called Hakata Tonton, in New York’s Manhattan.
Okajima is a native of Fukuoka in southern Japan, and orders weren’t exactly pouring in from American customers for two of his hometown’s favorite dishes that were on the menu: pigs’ feet and cod roe.
Enoshima is a popular summer beach front located just southwest of Tokyo in Kanagawa Prefecture. The area is well-known for numerous attractions around the island, its long stretch of sandy beach, great wind-surfing spots, and the quaint little tourist shops and restaurants along the walk to the water’s edge. Japanese vacationers and tourists alike come to this area because of it’s close proximity to the big city and coastal charm.
First-time travelers to Japan might not know, but over in the land of the rising sun, walking while eating food is considered a social faux paux. It may be the same in other countries across the world, but North Americans often find this aversion to eating on-the-go a bit surprising at first. But fear not because there’s an exception to every rule. Japan loves their food stands in the summer and bends the rules when it comes to deliciously portable fare like yakitori, takoyaki, and other festival food.
The walk to Enoshima beach and the island beyond is full of stands and small eateries, so feel free to pick up some dango on your way to the beach and munch with your companions! Here are some recommended stops for delicious take-away food to nibble during your vacation stroll.
Located on the northern tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Aomori Prefecture is known for its great seafood. Aomori scallops are especially prized, and any shellfish fan visiting the area should definitely make time to have a few.
But how can you be sure you’re eating the freshest scallops possible? Easy: catch them yourself. Even if you don’t have the time to venture out onto the open seas, there’s a restaurant right across the street from Aomori Station that lets you do just that.
Since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the terrible East Japan Earthquake in March last year, radiation has unfortunately been a topic of concern for everyone in Japan. It is therefore not surprising that a team of scientists at Tokyo University, where some of the top minds of Japan can be found, conducted a study on how radiation in seafood can be reduced. However, the results which have been reported in the media recently are not what you may expect from Japan’s premier academic institution.
According to reports, the team at Tokyo University, headed by Professor Shugo Watabe, concluded from their experiments that up to 95% of the radioactive cesium contained in fish can be removed by reducing the fish into very small pieces, close to paste form, and washing it repeatedly with water. Read More