Kabayaki-San Taro: A Famous Japanese Fish Jerky Snack
When it comes to the genre of Japanese snacks, “Dagashi (駄菓子)” is one of the quintessential, which is comprised of cheap, unique, relatively small Japanese snacks and candies, particularly for kids.
Dagashi comes in numerous varieties, and among those, the ones made from fish paste or surimi are one of the representative sub-genres, which might be unlike any other snack food in the world.
Most Japanese surimi snacks are so cheap, being sold for 10 to 50 yen (about 0.1 to 0.5 USD) per piece, that they are especially popular with children.
With their small pocket money, Japanese kids usually buy various varieties of such cheap fish-paste snacks at a time whose typical examples include Big Katsu that I introduced the other day.
Kabayaki-San Taro (蒲焼さん太郎)
Actually, today I picked up another famous surimi snack called “Kabayaki-San Taro (蒲焼さん太郎)” at a supermarket near my house.
Since I used to eat this Dagashi as a kid, I think several decades have passed since it went on the market. What is more, the price of 10 yen hasn’t changed since then.
Although the word that usually refers to grilled eel, “Kabayaki (蒲焼)” is printed on the package front, the main ingredient of this Japanese snack is walleye (Alaska) pollack.
Specifically, this Dagashi snack is made from a mixture of minced walleye pollack and squid powder that has been thinly stretched and baked and is flavored mainly with mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), soy sauce, and Shichimi Togarashi.
Therefore, Kabayaki-San Taro has a sweetish, a little spicy, savory taste. Its texture is quite hard and so tough that you need to chew it well.
In other words, the Japanese Dagashi snack is like fish jerky, and the more you chew on it, the more the flavor and umami come out and the better it tastes.
Where to Buy
Since the Dagashi snack, Kabayaki-San Taro has long been loved by children in Japan, it is available in many supermarkets, convenience stores, and drug stores around the country.