Tame sushi toppings may be the most popular, but connoisseurs know that being adventurous is half the fun with this dish!
This can actually be said of almost anything. Apply it to when you play Bingo games in Canada, are looking for a new partner, or are exploring books and movies. It can pay to take a walk on the wild side.
Anago and Unagi, or Saltwater and Freshwater Eel
These eels need to be fully cooked before they are served, and are usually either grilled or simmered in a salty, soy-based sauce or marinated. Anago is the lighter, softer meat of the two.
Fugu, or Blowfish
Consuming fugu is a little bit frightening thanks to how deadly it can be. There is a toxin contained in this fish’s organs that can kill grown men in minutes, and there is no known antidote available. Understandably, blowfish, or pufferfish, are virtually never eaten.
Specially trained fugu chefs have to undergo years of training simply to prepare them for working with blowfish, which makes fugu one of the most expensive types of sushi and sashimi. Don’t try to make this at home.
Kanimiso, or Crab Guts
At first glance, Kanimiso comes across as an anything-but-appetising grey-green paste, but it’s actually incredibly nutritious and very tasty. It’s made by cooking crabs’ intestinal offal and adding miso paste for flavour and texture. Kanimiso is sometimes called brain or crab roe, but this is incorrect.
Kazunoko, or Herring Roe
Kazunoko is herring roe that’s been marinated in a dashi dressing. Dashi is quite a commonly used stock in Japan, made of kelp and dried fish flakes. Kazunoko is particularly popular over the New Year period in Japan, and is, like a lot of other kinds of fish roe, considered to be an expensive delicacy.
Mentaiko, or Pollock Roe
Mentaiko is pollock roe that’s been seasoned in a chilli marinade. Its inspiration can be found in Korean cuisine, where locals have been enjoying a version of it for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s a wonderful accompaniment for almost any dish, so you’ll find mentaiko pasta, sandwiches, and more in Japan, and it can either be the main sushi event or a very flavourful sauce.
Naminori, or Fresh Seaweed
Did you know that the dried strip of green on your gunkan maki sushi could also be used fresh? Fresh nori seaweed, or naminori, is a healthy, refreshing change to standard sushi toppings. It looks like a dark green mush but tastes wonderful!
Natto, or Fermented Soybeans
If you are unaccustomed to it, you might not appreciate the wonders of natto. Many people think that it’s actually one of the worst foods to come out of Japan! But these rotting, smelly beans have several health benefits, and locals have learned to love them. They make great gunkan maki or sushi rolls.
Uni, or Sea Urchin Gonad
In the context of food, uni refers to the reproductive organs of both male and female sea urchins. Lightly seasoned uni brings out a slightly sweet, slightly salty flavour with a creamy texture, and it’s considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. As part of nigiri sushi, it’s usually eaten raw, and good-quality uni can set you back US$400 per kilogram and more.