Fantastic Junk Food of Japan

Introduction to favorite every day food of Japanese people.

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I am sure many of you know red stick like food made of white fish meat

such as the photograph below.






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I have heard it is called "surimi" in European countries.
But it is not called as so in Japan, the word "srimi" means ground meat of fish,
and food made of "surimi" is called by other names.







This red, usually stick shaped food is mostly called "kani kamaboko" or  "kanikama"

for short in Japan.  The word "kani" means the crab, because this food was created 

as imitation of crab meat.

"Kamaboko" is the word for a style of food made out of srimi, usually steamed

after it's shaped.








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Most common shape of kamaboko is semi-cylindrical form、
sliced like this photo as it served.








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You may find some slices of kamaboko on top of "udon," or
Japanese style noodle made of flour.








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When surimi is deep fried it would be called "satsuma a ge" or sometimes "tempra."
The name of it changes in particular area of Japan.  








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When srimi is grilled like this photo, daubed around a stick to make it
shape like a tube of bamboo cane, it would be called "chikuwa."
You may find this often in the "oden" a type of food commonly eaten during winter.









Chikuwa is known to be a oldest form of cooked srimi type food, can be found in some

written scriptures from 12th Century, though people were using freshwater fish back then,

may be some kind of cat fish, instead of sea fish like we do today.

Archaeologically, there are some evidences found, or so I have heard, there were somewhat

close to kamaboko was eaten in ancient Japanese land, I would say in yayoi period

which is a period of few hundred years around the birth of Christ.








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If you want to buy a pack of chikuwa at a grocery store,
this is how it may look.
A pack like this usually priced 100 to 300 Yen at common stores.








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Compared to chikuwa, cheese kamaboko, or cheekama for a short term,
is much new variation of kamaboko.








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Bit looks like beef frank for hot dog, but it is made of srimi or ground fish.
Those yellow spots are the chips of cheese.








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Rip off the plastic covering and take a bite.
Nice quick snack, also nice with beer.








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Some people use them for cooking as well.
This is I guess just fried with butter or oil, but looks nice.









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There are some stores sell by each stick but most shops
sell it as a pack of some sticks of cheese kamaboko.
I think this pack was about 300 Yen at a convenience store near by my house.
If you go to a supermarket you can find a better deal.









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This is a pack of cheese kamaboko I found at a 100 Yen store,
much smaller than the other photo above but I would say it's a good deal.








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If you see some illustration of red chili peppers on the package,
it provably means spicy.







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At some supermarkets you may find a big value pack of cheese kamaboko.









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"Gyoniku sausage" is another fish meat frank like food, usually packed like this.
In Japan "sausage" does not mean the seasonings for meat like western world,
so this fish meat food is not spicy.






To open this special packaging, rip off the little red slip (I added blue arrow), then






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pull the tip of stick to tear the plastic covering.








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Gyoniku sausage is usually pinkish color like this, and its texture is
more puffy than cheese kamaboko.









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Because gyoniku sausage is colored pink, it is very popular to be
used in homemade bento, Japanese style boxed lunch.
(Those pink rabbits are made of gyoniku sausage)







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Some people put them on the bread.
This one looks like added cheese on top and diced vegetable.
Quick arrange but nicely done.








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This is a shelf of selling gyoniku sausage at a supermarket.
I think you can find them around the shelf of pork meat sausages and hams.








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There are various packages for gyoniku sausage, but many manufactures are
choosing to use red package somehow.
One package is priced between 200 to 400 yen.









Reference:

"Kamaboko" page in Wikipedia:     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamaboko

"Chikuwa" page in Wikipedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chikuwa







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