10 Strange Foods from Japan


In this article we will see 10 strange foods that you can only eat in Japan. Foods that you didn't think existed in this great country of pasta, rice and sushi.

Most of these delicacies are only consumed in certain parts of Japan, so not even a Japanese person had a chance to try all of these dishes. Not only do I, but many Japanese people go far.

1. Natto - Fermented Soy

Natto is fermented soybeans, which have a very strong smell and a very viscous texture. Recently, natto's health benefits have been widely publicized and now people can buy it in supermarkets across Japan.

However, thirty years ago, people in western Japan did not eat it. It is rich in protein, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. In some Japanese restaurants outside of Japan, you can order natto. It may not be possible to eat the original, but many times they will offer natto-maki, a sushi roll with natto inside.


2. Shirasu - Grated fish

Shirasu is small fish, usually sardines, eels, herring or ayu. It is eaten raw or dried after boiling in salted water. It is rich in protein and calcium. It is not a dish with strange flavor or ingredients, but it has a rather bizarre appearance.


3. Inago no tuskudani

Inago is a species of grasshopper and is commonly eaten in Nagano and other mountainous regions, where seafood is not very accessible. Inago is first fried in a pan, then boiled in boiling water for a while and then cooked in soy sauce and sugar to produce tsukudani. Tsukudani in other parts of Japan is made of small fish, shellfish and seaweed.


4. Kurage (Jellyfish)

Jellyfish is eaten raw or dried. Despite its appearance, it does not have a jelly-like texture, it is crunchy. Only six types of living water are consumed.


5. Namako (sea cucumber)

Although its appearance is not attractive, sea cucumber is one of the best Japanese delicacies. It has been consumed by the Japanese for over a thousand years. A sea cucumber is often eaten raw with vinegar to enjoy the unique crispness. It is also possible to find it dry.

Namako sea cucumber
Namako Sea Cucumber

6. Kamenote

Kamenote is a marine crustacean, its name refers to the hand of a turtle, and can be found on rocky shores. It is most consumed in southern Japan.

People often put in miso soup or brine cooking. Although not of the same species, bedbugs, which are quite similar, are consumed in Spain and Portugal as well.


7. Suppon (Turtle Shell)

According to archaeologists, suppon, it is a soft-shelled turtle, consumed by the Japanese since the Jomon period (2500-1500 BC). Nowadays, it is often eaten as nabe (hot pot), suimono (soup) or zosui (Japanese risotto), the broth made from suppon is tasty. Rumors say that the shell is aphrodisiacs.


8. Basashi (Horse Meat)

Even though this meat is seen with bad eyes in Brazil. Horse meat is eaten in many countries around the world, but what people think. However, Japan consumes this raw meat. It is often eaten as sashimi with grated ginger or garlic and soy sauce.


9. Kusaya

Kusaya is a dry salted fish produced on the Izu islands. Fresh fish is made by marina in Kusaya-jiru (similar to fish sauce) for 8-20 hours and then washed with fresh water and finally dried in the sun for 1-2 days. Kusaya was given to Shougun as a gift in the Edo Period. It is famous for its unique scent.


10. Shiokara

Shiokara (塩辛) is made from the gut of several sea creatures. It is a preserved food made from the fermentation of internal organs  mixed with about 10% of salt, 30% of rice malt, fermented and packed in a plastic container.


Source: Tsunagujapan 

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