Every country has its own share of dishes that non-locals would find scary or disgusting to eat. Us locals don’t exactly blame them; I couldn’t even eat some of OUR native dishes. Now I’m planning to go to Japan soon and I’m not so sure I can work up the courage and the stomach to try these specialties. But that’s just me. True food adventurers wouldn’t hesitate to sample these and live to tell the tale.
1. Dancing Squid Bowl Dish (Odori-don)
Soy sauce is poured on the squid to make it move, giving the illusion of bringing the dead thing back to life (yes, it IS dead). The traditional way of serving this is that the head of the squid is cut into small slices for sashimi and the rest will be served as a side plate once the squid finishes its “dance”.
2. Raw Horsemeat Dish (Bashimi)
The idea of eating cooked horsemeat is a repulsive idea for most people. Well, the Japanese actually eat it raw and its supposed to taste really good, like sushi.
3. Fermented Soy Beans (Natto)
Beans are cooked with steam and then fermented with Bacillus subtilis, a type of healthy bacteria. Yep, they eat beans cooked in bacteria. The smell is probably the true test of wills here. It has a strong odor that may turn off a lot of people. If you get past that, you have to deal with the long stretches of slime that comes with the fermented beans. This is usually eaten for breakfast, served hot over steamed rice.
4. Grasshopper stewed in sweetened soy (Inago)
Inago means grasshopper. The grasshoppers are blanched in boiling water and then dried under direct sunlight for a couple of days. Afterwards, they’re cooked in a mixture of sugar and tsukudani, which is sauce made of soy sauce and seaweed. They look like cockroaches piled on top of white rice. I’ll have to pass, thanks.
5. Fish sperm (Shirako)
The idea of eating animal sperm is something that most of us would laugh at. But the Japanese made a specialty out of fish sperm (milt, or sperm sacs of male cod to be specific) and can be eaten raw or cooked. It looks like creamy white blob in a soft cluster.
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