From Blowfish to Oyster! Luxurious Seafood Cuisines in the Chugoku・Shikoku areas
Speaking of Japanese food, sushi and tempura are among the most famous ones, but they’re not the only delicious ones! In some local areas of Japan, there are many local dishes that are worth trying! In this article, we will introduce some of the specialty dishes of the Chugoku / Shikoku areas made from fresh seafoods, such as Hiroshima oysters, Yamaguchi blowfish (fugu) sashimi, Ehime taimeshi (rice with whole steamed sea bream), and Kochi's Straw-grilled Seared Bonito. We will also introduce "shun", which is the name for the season when foods are at their best time to be eaten.
（3）Katsuo no Tataki（Kochi）
Hiroshima is packed with attractions such as "Miyajima", which is a small island situated at Hiroshima Bay which is known for its magnificent vermillion torii gate, and "Onomichi", which is also known as the starting point of the Shimanami Kaido cycling sanctuary. Miyajima is also famous for its large number of deers and Momiji Manju (maple leaf shaped cakes).
Oysters are the local dish that best represents Hiroshima! The shell is small, but the meat is large and plump and has a rich flavour. Hiroshima has the highest production rate of oysters in Japan! They’re shipped out from October to May, and they’re in season from January to February. They’re tasty both raw and steamed!
Particularly famous are fried oysters made from large oysters! Many local restaurants offer fried oyster set meals with rice, side dishes in small bowls, and miso soup. The batter has a crispy texture, and when you bite on it, the aroma of the ocean and the mellow milky taste spreads through your mouth!
Hiroshima Prefecture's local cuisine, "Dote Nabe" (Oyster Hotpot) is a staple of winter cuisine, and is made by spreading miso around a pot and boiling oysters and other ingredients such as tofu and vegetables. You must try it next time when you visit Hiroshima!
Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, which faces the Kanmon Straits that runs between Honshu and Kyushu, is a treasure trove of seafood! Above all, it is extremely famous as a place where fugu (blowfish) gather. Fugu is known in Yamaguchi as "Fuku" because it helps you avoid "misfortune " and brings good luck. The pufferfish season runs from November to February. There are various ways to eat blowfish, such as blowfish sushi, blowfish rice porridge, and blowfish sashimi. However, the most recommended way of enjoying it is “Fugusashi” (blowfish sashimi)! The blowfish is sliced thinly so that the plate underneath can be seen through it, and it is beautiful and marvellous! It tastes a little crunchy and has a light flavour! If you visit Yamaguchi and were to bring the dish, be sure to add ponzu sauce (Japanese seasoning with citrus juice) and it goes really well with green onions and other herbs!
（3）Katsuo no Tataki - Seared Bonito（Kochi）
Located in Shikoku, the Kochi Prefecture has lots of beautiful clear streams such as the Shimanto River and lots of breathtaking spots overlooking the Pacific Ocean such as Katsurahama, Cape Muroto, and Cape Ashizuri. If you were to mention the local speciality of Kochi Prefecture, Seared Bonito come to mind! Bonito with plenty of fat is caught via the Tosa traditional fishing technique “ipponzuri (fishing with a pole) ", which is kind to nature and does not damage the fish when catching them, and then the fish is grilled using straw of rice plants. After grilling the surface of the fish, allow it to cool, cut it, and then sprinkle with herbs and sauce.
The season that runs from April to June is called "first bonito", and from September to November it is called "returning bonito". Bonito has two seasons annually. The first bonito is red and has a light taste, and the return bonito has a chewy texture! Both of them were very fatty yet yummy! ♪
Ehime Prefecture is located in Shikoku, famous for Dogo Onsen and Matsuyama Castle. If you're travelling in the area, "Taimeshi", which is made using special red sea bream, is one of the local dishes you'll want to try! Many people think of Ehime as being known for mandarin oranges, but in fact, it is the largest production area of Red Sea bream in Japan!
Even if you call it "Taimeshi", "Taimeshi" in the central and eastern regions of Ehime prefecture, focusing on Matsuyama city, is better known as "Matsuyama Taimeshi", which is made by cooking roasted sea bream in rice with kelp soup stock. In contrast, "Taimeshi" in the southern part of Ehime Prefecture, focusing on Uwajima City, is called "Uwajima Taimeshi" , where sea bream sashimi soaked in a sauce containing raw eggs and laid on warm rice can be enjoyed. It's interesting that Ehime's local dish, "Taimeshi," is actually eaten differently depending on the region! The rice had a strong sea bream flavour, and it had a refined taste. Sea bream is in season from March to April when it is fatty before spawning.
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About Chogoku/Shikoku Travel Passes