Bizarre, disgusting, gross, an ‘acquired taste’ .. all completely valid ways to describe some of these Japanese delicacies, but ‘weird’ is definitely on suitable word that comes to mind! This Japanese food can certainly seem a little intense for taste. Of course, that is not to say that they are not delicious, just … different!
Because it is surrounded on all sides by water, it makes sense that much of what the Japanese eat comes from the sea. We all know they eat whales and dolphins, but how about fish sperm and poisonous puffer fish? The short list below also includes a few specialties found on land that I just had to include.
1 Dancing Squid Bowl Dish
Have you ever seen dancing squid bowl dish before? This is the most talked about Japanese bowl dish.
The squid is still moving! Do you wanna try this? You can eat this dish in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
The video is here! I don’t suggest you to watch this…
2 Basashi (Raw horse meat)
In Japan, eating raw horsemeat is popular. The taste is really good like “sushi”!
While Japan is not the only country that eats horse meat, I believe it is the only one that eat raw horse meat, as sashimi.
Uni is actually a rather common sushi filling, both in Japan and also in Japanese restaurants around the world. It seems innocent enough until you consider where it actually came from. Uni is the roe from sea urchins that live in small nooks and crannies on rocky ocean floors and are covered in spikes to protect them from predators.
So once upon a time, a diver fished something from the bottom of the sea, broke off all the spikes, managed to rip the sea urchin in half, then scoop out the raw eggs from inside and eat them! Certainly a weird food for me, but going by the number of uni flavoured rice crackers you can buy, presumably not so weird in Japan!
I first had nankotsu when I was living in Japan and went out to eat at a local izakaya bar. A friend had placed the order so I was not sure what was going to be arriving, but they had assured me that everything would be delicious. A Bowl of what look like popcorn chicken was bought to the table, so I grabbed a piece and put it in my mouth.
Instead of the soft chicken that I was expecting, there was a rather audible ‘crunch’ and I began to wonder why I appeared to be eating a deep fried stone. Thinking that my piece must have had some bone in it, I looked around the table and noticed that everyone else was crunching away on what I later found out to be nankotsu, the Japanese name for chicken bone cartilage.
It is common in Japanese cuisine, and indeed in other cuisines to enjoy the rich taste of fish roe. Fish eggs come in all shapes and sizes, from small black caviar to the larger orange coloured ikura salmon roe that is popular in Japanese fodd. But what about the other side… the male version?
Shirako literally means ‘white child’ and is the Japanese name for male fish sperm! This is serious delicacy in Japan and is served in its natural state inside a thin membrane, often with sushi. The texture is said to be “soft an creamy”, with an acquired taste and presumably a little bit salty!
Shiokara is a strong contender for the weirdest, most disgusting sounding dish in any cuisine in the whole universe! Made from salted and fermented fish guts, usually from squid, shiokara has a seriously intense flavour and smell. It is so pungent that even many Japanese people consider it too hardcore! Although a quick ask round the office proved that 50% of Japanese people are quite partial to this tasty treat!
Shiokara is often served at Japanese drinking and snack bars called izakaya, where it is often washed down with a healthy slurp of sake or sake or shochu! If you are interesting in trying it, you might have to be prepared to go directly yo Japan to find this delicacy!
7 Zazamushi (Aquatic insects)
Zazamushi is not just one kind of insect, rather a catch -all name applied to the larvae of insects that live at the bottom of rivers. The name “zazamushi” literally tanslate to “insects(mushi) that live in a place where the river makes the sound zaazaa as it flows”
8 Fugu(Posonous puffer fish)
The japanese have been eating fugu for centuries, which means they have had plenty of time to figure out how to eat this poisonous fish. Fugu flesh is edible, but the skin, and liver and ovaries contain lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin. If any of these elements are consumed, then the poison paralyzes the muscles thile the victim stays fully conscious, and eventually dies from asphyxiation. Good times, for this reason, it is imperative that a special, qualified fugu chef prepares your meal.
Awamori sake from Okinawa with a viper snake in the bottle.
Grasshoppers fried in a sweet soy sauce.
Fermented soy beans that are stringy and sticky.
12 Hachinioko (Bee Larve)
This crunchy, maggotty bee larvae is served in pubs the way we serve beer nuts.
13 Shirouo noodorigui (Dancing icefish)
Shirouo are very small transparent fish that are eaten alive. They danced in your mouth or rather do the odorigui(dancing while being eaten)
14 About turtles
What do you think of these delicious/different looking dishes? Which one of these sounds the most appealing to you? Have you even tried any od these before? If you have any better suggestions for the weirdest Japanese food, let us know in the comments!
If you need some eye bleach to remove the nightmare of these delicacies from your thoughts, have a look at this fluffy Japanese Totoro toy and soothe your mind!