Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics
Last year in September I translated a Yomiuri article
about the small yet increasing presence of whale meat in the Japanese marketplace.
Featured in the article was a Chimney Group izakaya
(meaning Flower Dance"). Back in November 2005, Hananomai apparently upgraded a selection of whale dishes to it's regular menu - with the tatsuta-age (fried whale) option subsequently becoming one of Hananomai's top 10 earners.
Where are they at today?
Courtesy of Japan's "Gourmet Navi" restaurant locator site, I pulled up the Ginza branch's website
At the top of their list of recommended menu dishes is (no need for a drum roll):
- "Deluxe whale sushi!" (pictured), with encouragement to "give it a try" (609 yen).
Further down the menu, in their "kujira / kani
" (whale and crab) section, three further whale dishes are introduced:
- "Kujira ruibe" (609 yen) As you can see this looks to be an assortment of red meat and blubber. Apparently "ruibe" is an Ainu language word meaning "sashimi of frozen fish", usually using salmon or pollack. The fish is sliced thinly, and eaten with wasabi soy sauce. I think I may have had this kind of whale meat once before - not only is it raw, it's also frozen! The Ainu people are a minority group in Japan, who today reside mainly in Hokkaido, as I understand it. I wonder if their coming to eat fish frozen was more out of necessity than intention, given how cold it is up there in the north?
- "Kujira tatsuta-age" (609 yen) This is the item that was amongst Hananomai's top ten offerings in terms of earnings as of September last year. I had a similar dish as part of a set meal at Shibuya's "Kujira-ya" once, and it was excellent.
Further whale meat offerings are also available as part of Hananomai's spring banquet menus, including a pizza topped with kujira
(pollack ovum), and a "kujira bacon harihari salad
", which sounds like it may consist of similar ingredients to the "harihari nabe
" that I covered in a previous blog post. The banquet sets range from 2,500 yen to 4,500 yen a head.
Labels: Hananomai, whale meat market