Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Sanma no kabayaki
I once asked a Japanese friend if he could recommend some food that almost every Japanese has eaten, and preferably that most people like, but that foreigners visiting Japan are unlikely to have tried. Some form of food that kids get while growing up perhaps, but that restaurants do not serve?
He thought about it for a while and then recommended "さんまの蒲焼" (sanma no kabayaki). Sanma is a type of fish. Kabayaki is a form of cooking with a soy based (rather sweet) sauce, common when cooking eel in Japan.
I have actually run into this in a bar once. Other than that, I have not eaten this food (though I have had eel in the same type of sauce many times). This is sold in pretty much every convenience store in Japan, for 100 yen or so. Most Japanese have probably had this, and you just open the can and put it on some rice and you have a meal.
I recently recalled that conversation with my friend and bought a can of sanma no kabayaki and ate it at home. It is pretty good, though not that special.
On an unrelated note, Sanma is written with very "cool" kanji when writing it that way. Sanma is written as "秋刀魚", which are the kanji for "autumn", "katana" (sword) and "fish". So the autumn katana like fish. Sanma are silvery and long/thin with a slight bend, perhaps vaguely resembling a Japanese sword.