Cheese Tara vs Chiitara: Japanese Fish Cheese Snacks
As you may know, “Otsumami (おつまみ)” is the Japanese word for the snack food eaten with alcoholic drinks, and the representative examples include Kaki no Tane and Kamaboko.
As with them, what I introduce here, the Japanese fish cheese snacks, “Cheese Tara (チーズ鱈)” and “Chiitara (チータラ)” have also long been favored as Otsumami by drinkers in Japan.
Natori Cheese Tara & Chiitara
Cheese Tara and Chiitara (Chitara) are both produced and sold by the Japanese food company “Natori (なとり)”.
And each consists of a rectangular stick of processed cheese sandwiched between 2 thin strips of dried Surimi (fish paste). So these are very similar snacks.
Cheese Tara is the original form of Chiitara that was introduced in 1982 before Chiitara was released.
As for the name of “Chiitara (チータラ)”, it actually can be divided into 2 words, “Chii (チー: Chee)” and “Tara (タラ)”.
As you can easily guess, the former “Chii (チー)” stands for cheese, while the latter “Tara (タラ, 鱈)” means codfish in Japanese.
Thus, the strips of dried fish paste for Cheese Tara and Chiitara sticks are both made using codfish.
The Difference: Chiitara vs Cheese Tara
However, the dried Surimi for Cheese Tara only consists of codfish, whereas the one for Chiitara sticks is a mix of codfish and other fish meat.
Besides, the Cheese Tara stick contains 13% of Parmigiano Reggiano known as the king of Italian cheeses in its cheese part, and it is somewhat pricy compared to the Chiitara stick.
Therefore, it could be said that Cheese Tara is the luxurious version of Chiitara.
Nonetheless, to me, there is not much difference in taste and texture between these 2 Japanese fish cheese snacks.