ONLY in JAPAN: Top 7 Weirdest Foods You Have Never Heard Before
While Japanese food is certainly delicious and popular all around the world, there are also some questionable dishes that aren't too popular with people from other countries. KnowInsider usually brings you news about delicious Japanese snacks, Japanese candy and theme cafes like the Pokemon Cafe or the Vampire Cafe but today we're back with something completely different!
In this post, you can read about the top 7 weirdest Japanese food:
#1. Natto (Fermented soybeans)
Natto is an infamous Japanese dish made of fermented soybeans. It is extremely healthy, and many Japanese people like to eat it for any meal, usually in combination with rice but it is also commonly used in sushi or even ramen! The texture of this dish is called ねばねば (nebaneba) in Japanese which means sticky.
While this is a common texture in Japanese food most people from western countries have probably never tried something even remotely similar! Therefore it's well-known that most non-Japanese people absolutely hate it for its sticky texture, awful smell and bitter taste, according to Tokyo Treat.
|Natto Ramen. Photo: favy|
#2. Funazushi (Fermented Carp)
Some consider funazushi a luxury dish. this weird food in Japan is kind of a fermented carp – taking more than a year to prepare. It’s said that sushi originated from funazushi. When you saw Karl Pilkington trying it on the TV show An Idiot Abroad you may have heard of funazushi. He was so repulsed by it that he vomited. Funazushi is regional to Shiga prefecture but it’s hard to find. Funazushi is made from the carp caught in the lake, so if want to taste it head on over to Lake Biwa in Shiga.
#3. Uni (Sea Urchin)
The spiky creatures in the sea! Uni looks really scary. It definitely qualifies as a weird Japanese food, and it may be the scariest-looking food ever. In the shops near where the old Tsukiji Fish Market was, they serve it to you on paper plates inside the actual, spiky urchin:
The soft lobes of meat inside are a dark orange colour. It’s slippery and fleshy, and when you bite into it, the flavour pops in your mouth. Do you know how liver (especially foie gras) has a coppery taste and a creamy texture? Well, uni has those qualities too, but it also reminds me of the way the ocean smells. You should try it because it’s so unique and tasty.
Uni is often served in nigiri alongside salmon roe (ikura), which helps to balance out the strong flavour, as cited by Horizon Unknown.
#4. Dojo Tofu (Loach Hotpot)
The Japanese have a dish called Dojo tofu, which is also known as tofu hell. To make the dish, they boil some water in a pan and once it has reached a considerable heat, they put a block of cold tofu in the bottom, immediately followed by a handful of live baby loach fish.
The idea is that the fish will immediately swim down and start to bury themselves in the cold tofu to get away from the boiling water. But soon, the boiling water also heats up the tofu and the fish are boiled alive inside the flesh, as cited by Toptenz.
#5. Basashi (Raw Horse Meat)
Basashi is thinly sliced horse meat in the form of sashimi, a speciality from Kumamoto prefecture, and is available in several restaurants and sushi places all over Japan! In many other nations, people see horses as riding and wouldn’t even think of eating them, but this is not the case in Japan. Especially together with soy sauce and garlic, Japanese people love horse meat.
This weird food from Japan is commonly referred to as Sakura Niku (cherry blossom meat) due to the vibrant colour of the meat when it is freshly cut and the time of year when it is in season and tastes best, as cited by Adequate Travel.
#6. Nama Tamago (Raw Egg)
|Photo: G'Day Japan|
Unlike eggs from The States, for example, Japanese eggs arrive much sooner to market since the shipping distances are shorter. But the main reason this one of the weirdest foods to eat in Japan is safe to eat is that the egg’s natural, protective germ barrier is not removed from the shell by washing, as they are with western eggs. Just to be on the safe side though, always be mindful of expiration dates. Aside from being concerned about getting sick, I was concerned about the texture. It’s true the slimy texture can be unfamiliar, but with time (and an open mind), I grew quite used to it, actually.
#7. Shirako (Fish Sperm)
|Photo: US Weekly|
Shirako is considered one of the delicacies in Japan and sold at restaurants and also at more expensive supermarkets. Upon first glance, this bizarre food in Japan may appear a little odd but it is only when you discover what it is that makes many people lose their appetite. Shirako is a fish’s sperm sack! The texture is soft and creamy like pudding and it doesn’t have that much of a flavor. It is a very versatile dish and can be served raw, fried, steamed, or as a topping on other dishes.
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