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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Whale still on the menu

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a local drinkery was advertising whale on it's menu, with a topical comment related to Sea Shepherd putting thoughts of whale dishes in Japanese consumers' minds.

I popped past again this evening to see if they were still doing whale - and they are:

The signboard has been modified since, and this time the whale in the image on the right (sorry you can't see the whale picture due to the bright light) is saying "an arrest warrant for Sea Shepherd".

It's not clear whether this is in reference to the arrest warrant for Peter Bethune, or the arrest warrant for Paul Watson following reports of Peter Bethune implicating Watson in Bethune's boarding of the Shonan Maru #2 and other related offences, but the arrest warrant for Watson has been featured heavily in the news here in recent days, so that's probably what it is.

Also noted on the menu is "sakura shrimp" and "sea eel sashimi". They focus on sea food.

* * *

So yes, I did get along to the restaurant on April 20, together with isanatori (who may very well be Tokyo's number one whale eater).

Here are the whale items that were on the menu that day.

First up - fin whale sashimi. Asked the chef about their food sources, and he said they get their marine products through Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. We figured that this fin whale is more likely than not some of that exported in from Iceland, courtesy of Hvalur hf. Our thanks to Kristjan Loftsson and company if that is the case!

Whale bacon (minke):

Fried fin whale (tatsuta-age style):

Fin whale shoga-yaki style (kind of stir fried with ginger):

Here's the menu. It's not a cheap place - the fin whale sashimi was going for 1,500; the minke bacon for 1,600 and the fried whale for 900.

I mentioned to the chef that I had seen his signboard and blogged it - attracting the attention of the odd person of the anti-whaling persuasion (see here). He was happy for me to take pictures of the food and joked that I should pass on his gratitude to Sea Shepherd for their (I suppose unwitting) contribution to his business, and so there you have it.

His whale picture on the signboard (see prior post) had apparently been popular with other customers. He said he was eager to keep serving whale for a while.

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Given the Antarctic Hunt only killed 1 fin whale due to Sea Shepherd disruption whale restaurants in Japan are really hoping the summer hunt gets more sei and Fin whales and the long awaited Fin whale shipment from Iceland arrives. No one wants to eat Minke whale. The sales of minke meat for last few months are at rock bottom and it is unlikely that the summer with see an increase in buying.
"whale restaurants in Japan are really hoping the summer hunt gets more sei and Fin whales "

Japan doesn't catch fin whales in the Northwestern Pacific for its JARPN2 research program. You probably meant Bryde's whales.
Otherwise, you need to check your facts.

"No one wants to eat Minke whale".

That's not true. I do want to eat minke whale meat. My consumption of whale meat being over the average, you can be sure it's not like "no one".
I'm sure many other people like it too.

As David explained somewhere else on his blog, the actual slack demand for whale products is to be placed in the broader economic context. Even tuna doesn't sell well now. THat doesn't mean that no one wants to eat tuna.
Hi Anonymous, as isanatori says, obviously some people want to eat whale.

I'm sure that the local restaurant mentioned here is not putting minke whale products on it's menu for the benefit of myself and isanatori.
that is actually cheaper than i thought! whale is usally very very expensive~ I'm glad u tried it!



I also like Minke.
But I've only had the red sashimi (with a pinch of ginger in the soy sauce.)

I'd love to hear if you or isanatori (or anyone else) have any おすすめ for eating whale? Like what are your favorite recipes?
I'm not in Tokyo, so I can't go to these places unfortunately. But I'd like to try more than just sashimi* but have no idea what to try.

*I don't like sashimi much in general, so I figure if I liked minke sashimi it's got to be even better prepared other ways.
Kujirakira, apparently fried whale (竜田揚げ) was a big favourite amongst school kids and these days too it seems to be a favourite. Also, I guess the westerner in me makes me like whale steak.

If you aren't in Tokyo, if you in one of Japan's bigger cities you can probably find an izakaya somewhere that has some whale items on the menu. The Hananomai chain for example (花の舞).







Thanks David!
Oddly, I'm not much of a steak guy either. Haha, I probably sound picky about food now -- though I will eat almost anything. Fried sounds great, I will have to try that next.
I'm not actually in Japan, but I visit Fukuoka a couple times a year. I was able to find a 花の舞 in Hakata, so based on yours and wubaiさん recommendation I plan to check them out next time. Thanks a lot for the tip!




I geogled and found a restraunt in Hakata that serves whale meat. I have not tried this place. But it looks good. Show the printout to the tax driver.

博多味処 楠 (Kusunoki)
TEL: 092-282-3388


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