What is considered gourmet food in Japan is not exactly the same food we would think of when talking about “high endJapanese food” in the West: yes, sushi is considered a gourmet food that is only eaten during special times in Japan, but it doesn’t quite have the same “delicacy status” that it has in the West when it comes to Japanese food.
One food that is considered luxurious in Japan that we don’t consider special here is meat. Meat is not something that they eat everyday, so it is considered somewhat luxurious and foods containing meat are considered somewhat special. So, for example, we have foods like “sukiyaki” (a one-pot dish of vegetables, tofu and beef) or “chanko nabe” (containing meat, fish, vegetables, onion, potatoes,mushrooms, algae, tofu and eggs and considered a staple meal for sumo fighters) that are considered for special occasions only. However, when it comes to beef we have a particular type of beef that is considered extremely luxurious and high end, a true gourmet food: Kobe beef.
Kobe beef is usually produced in the Kobe region and has a lot of requirements (it can only come from a virgin female cow or a castrated male cow, they can only be feed with the highest quality rice and barley and they must be massaged with sake regularly…) and it has extremely high quality standarts too. Even in Japan it is extremely rare to find authentic Kobe beef, and its price is extremely high, surpassing $300 for a kilo of steak. This meat is really fatty and the fat is streaked into the muscle, which makes it seep into it once it’s cooked, giving it a particularly rich and full flavour. If you want to eat Kobe beef, your best bet is going to the restaurant Royal Mouriya in Kobe, Japan; but nowadays Kobe beef has become so famous that restaurants all over the world have caught wind and have started serving it, too. Just hope there’s a gourmet Japanese food restaurant near you !
Another gourmet food in Japan is “fugu”, the name they give to carefully cut and prepared pufferfish. Extremely expensive and extremely rare to find a restaurant that serves it, this dish has become famous accross the world not only for its lovely flavour but because of its toxicity: the pufferfish needs to be prepared extremely carefully because the liver contains a toxin that can contaminate the meat if not handled with care; and this toxin doesn’t only cause food poisoning: it causes roughly 40 deaths per year by asphyxiation. There’s a special license to prepare fugu that only the best can obtain, so finding a restaurant that serves it is very rare, and a full course fugu meal can be roughly $200. So, if you love delicious gourmet food but also extreme emotions, fugu might just be the Japanese food for you!
Thank you to Access Control Systems Atlanta for this delicious article!