Chiitara – Japanese fish cheese snacks known as a popular “Otsumami”

Have you ever heard of Otsumami?, or do you know the meaning of the Japanese word? We Japanese call the snack foods eaten as accompaniments to alcoholic drinks “Otsumami (おつまみ)”, in other words, the Japanese word refers to finger foods or nibbles.

When it comes to typical Japanese Otsumami snacks, Kaki no Tane (, or Kameda crisps) and Kamaboko (かまぼこ) are widely enjoyed in Japan, which are classic spicy Japanese rice crackers and traditional Japanese boiled fish paste respectively, and another that shouldn’t be forgotten is the Japanese fish cheese snack called Chiitara (チータラ).

Chiitara – Classic Japanese Fish Cheese Snacks

5f37015237c50051865228294f2d8588_s Natori – Chiitara (チータラ) Otsumami Snack

Chiitara (or Chitara) is not only one of my favorite Otsumami snacks, but the Japanese fish cheese snack is also one of the most popular finger foods in Japan.It consists of a stick of cheese sandwiched between two strips of dried fish paste.

The name of the Japanese snack, Chiitara is composed of 2 words, “Chii (Chee)” and “Tara”.As you can guess, the former word, Chii (chee) stands for cheese, while the latter, Tara (鱈) means codfish in Japanese.From the meaning of the words, you can see that the thin dried fish paste is made from codfish.

Actually, Chiitara has its roots in “Cheese Tara (チーズ鱈)”, the fish cheese snack created and released in 1982 by Natori (なとり), a major Japanese food company.Cheese Tara has also been widely enjoyed as a long-seller item by Japanese people for decades as well as Chiitara, but what is the difference?

Natori – Cheese Tara (チーズ鱈) Otsumami Snack

The difference between Chiitara and Cheese Tara

The Japanese fish cheese snack, Cheese Tara looks just like Chiitara snacks.However the dried fish paste of Cheese Tara snacks is made using only codfish.On the other hand, the thin fish paste of Chiitara is made with a mixture of codfish and other fish flesh.

Because of that, Cheese Tara is pricy compared to Chiitara, but I feel these 2 Japanese fish cheese snacks have almost the same taste and texture.

Where the Japanese fish cheese snacks are available 

Chiitara or Cheese Tara is available at almost any supermarket and convenience store in Japan as we Japanese love eating these Otsumami snacks along with beer.Nowadays, the Japanese fish cheese snacks can be bought on online shopping sites even if you don’t live in Japan.


I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: