Weird Food Wednesday – Shiokara

Another beautiful-sounding Japanese word that belies the actual dish. This “weird food” is a dish made of pieces of meat taken from a selection of sea creatures, served in a brown, viscous paste of their own salted and fermented viscera.

Sounds intriguing and almost elegant as it rolls off the tongue, offering visions of something like a fine silk Japanese sash. The food may not taste so intriguing and elegant as it rolls off your tongue should you choose to give this a try. Why? For those of you disinclined to pick up a dictionary, “viscera” means “the internal organs of the main cavities of the body, e.g. the intestines.”

We’ll give you this, “Shiokara” sounds way, WAY better than “salted and fermented intestinal meat stuff mixed together and blech”.

Oh, we did we forget to mention, it’s all served raw? It’s all served raw.

It is referred to in Japan as a “chimni,” meaning “rare taste.” At Taste Winchester History, we refer to it as “nuh-uhh,” meaning “we’re just not gonna do that.”

Our research also led us to discover that one method of enjoying this, yet another “acquired taste” dishes, is to consume the serving in one gulp and follow it with a shot of straight whiskey. I’m not sure how that technique came about, but we would imagine that this dish needs no help on the road to retroperistalsis.

In our time on this earth, we have learned that someone telling you that something is an “acquired taste” is tantamount to throwing up a stop sign right in front of your face. Of course, looking at the tastefully done photograph, you may be lured into a false sense of security by the appearance; it looks like a simple bowl of peaches or apricots bathing in their own sweet, sweet syrup… and not like a bowl of excessively salty raw fish meat swimming in intestinal juices.

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