Japan may be a land filled with a variety of different cuisines but it is also home to a range of rather rare-tasting delicacies. The Japanese term for this is “chinmi” which literally means “rare taste”, so chinmi cuisine is usually considered strange and to be an acquired taste. Some may be too much for those with delicate taste buds and others are considered priceless gems. So if you really want to appreciate some priceless Japanese delicacies, then these are a must-try!
Chinmi usually refers to local cuisines that are unique to a certain area or those cuisines that aren’t as popular anymore, which can make them quite hard to find so you really need to be on the lookout. But you’ll have to be quite a daring person to give these a go, as in most cases they may appear very unusual to overseas visitors. Chinmi is also used for fun and cheerful “culinary hazing”.
These three chinmi are considered the top chinmi cuisines across the country which have spiced up Japanese culinary life:
- Karasumi (salt-pickled mullet roe): considered a highly priced delicacy. Its name has been taken from a theory that it resembled an imported solid ink from China which was commonly used in Japanese calligraphy. It is soft in nature and likened to Mediterranean’s Bottarga (a salted, cured fish roe).
- Konowata (sea cucumber guts): is another chinmi highly valued in Japan. Though they don’t seem appetizing, their flesh is a delicacy commonly eaten in the country. It is very important to clean their intestine in sea water for about 5 hours.
- Uni (spiky sea urchin): is a pricey top quality delicacy. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can choose any preparation you like such as steaming or curing. These sea urchins can commonly be found in the northern part of Japan (Hokkaido).
Whether or not you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, these three rare delicacies are worth trying to enjoy a uniquely Japanese experience. Also, these are only 3 of the many strangely unique Japanese dishes to try out on your travels, so keep an eye out! Enjoy!