Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
The Sankei Shimbun
has an article on whale meat in the "lifestyle / health" section of their news website. Here's my best-effort translation (original
The classic cooking ingredient of "whale" - Kintetsu Department Store, Abeno main store
With the first three days of the new year having passed, there must be many amongst us who have tired of "Osechi ryouri" (traditional New Year cuisine) and "Ozooni" (rice-cake soup). Well, there's also the option of dishes using "whale", another of Japan's traditional cooking ingredients. In recent times, whale has come to be rarely eaten, but is an old-fashioned ingredient the originally started to propagate in the Edo-era (1603 - 1867), and was a valuable source of protein for Japanese people.The "whale store" within Kintetsu's main store of Abeno is carrying whale meat. Whale meat from the several species of whale caught in research whaling is on sale. The store manager, Tatsuo Nishikawa (66) recommends the whale meat product. "It's low in calories, and high in protein. Whale meat is good for harihari nabe using mizuna (a type of vegetable), or in sashimi, as an oden ingredient, or in cutlets. I hope people eat more whale meat, and remember this classic taste of Japan".
There are mainly 7 types of whale meat, including the high-end "onomi", the marbled meat from the tail, the standard "akami" red meat from the back and belly, and the skin or "blubber" which is also used in sushi. Historically blubber was used for obtaining whale oil, but is also reported to be delicious when eaten sliced and dipped in ginger soy sauce. Also, rare meats including blubber and bacon from fin whales which have recently been caught for the first time in 30 years are also available.
For use in harihari nabe, the store recommends the meat from the area covering the jaw bone, known as "kanoko", of minke whale. The fatty portion spotted with meat is pleasing to the eye, and is apparently a rare delicacy. It is tougher than "onomi", but is apparently also tasty as sashimi.
The season for nabe will still continue for sometime, yet. Nishikawa-san says "If you use it in "harihari nabe", the light cruncy texture of mizuna and whale meat complement each other very nicely. It's refreshing, and unlike meats such as beef, the fat is light-tasting. With low-cholestorol whale meat, I hope people can see themselves healthily through the year."
The picture shows some of the marbled meat, along with mizuna
, the green vegetable, and some slices of blubber on the right of the plate.
For those not so familiar with Japanese cuisine, you can read about what "nabe" is here
* * *
Having never heard of it before, I did a Google for "harihari nabe"
, and a whole bunch of results came up that reference whale meat. Nothing in "harihari nabe" is a whale related kanji character, so I was somewhat surprised.
According to Hisako Ooishi
at this particular search result
from 2003, the main aim of "harihari nabe
" is to eating the green mizuna
vegetable, but traditionally whale meat was also used. She introduced a recipe using pork instead.
Another interesting result was this one
from whale meat dealer Nichigei Shoji
at the famous Japanese online shopping site, Rakuten
. Take a look:
- There is a image showing the names for various parts of the whale (Japanese language sorry)
- You can also see a pictures of harihari nabe in both cooked and pre-cooked states.
- At the bottom of the page amongst the purchase information, the product detail indicates that the meat used is that of minke, sei and bryde's whales from the Antarctic and Western North Pacific (i.e., by-products from the whale research programmes).
- The advertising banner at the top of the page reads "The nostalgia of whale! Whale is Japan's food culture".
- At Nichigei Shoji's top page at Rakuten, potential consumers can also see a movie (which appears to have been produced by the ICR) covering the whole production process, from the harpoon strike, through packaging and finally to the dinner table as well. View it at this page.
Another site, hariharinabe.com
is by the Nakamuraya shop in Osaka, which seems almost devoted entirely to harihari nabe
. They seem to have some kind of link to the traditions of Japan's most well known whaling town of Taiji, in the neighbouring Wakayama prefecture.
Also (for me to check again later), some other links are here
Labels: harihari nabe, Nakamuraya, Nichigei Shoji, whale meat market