Ika no Shiokara: All About the Japanese Food Delicacy
There are a variety of food delicacies or “Chinmi (珍味)” in Japan as well as in other countries, and some of them feature an unpleasant smell and weird appearance, yet have a good taste.
Examples of such delicacies include the top 5 stinkiest Japanese foods I introduced before, and what I introduce here “Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛)” is also among them.
Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛: Squid Shiokara)
Ika no Shiokara is one of the food delicacies or Chinmi that represent Japan. In its name, “Ika (イカ)” means “squid” in Japanese,
while “Shiokara (塩辛)” refers to a traditional Japanese food that is made by salting and fermenting seafood such as fresh raw fish slices, fish guts, or squid bits.
So Ika no Shiokara is the Shiokara made of squid. In other words, it consists of small pieces of salted fermented squid, which are usually sold in a glass jar.
The processed seafood is characterized by its bizarre appearance, and if you first see it, you might wonder if it is edible, because Ika no Shiokara looks kind of like mud and is what is disgusting to look at.
Actually, today, I purchased one in a supermarket near my house for this blog article.
If someone serves you these gross-looking things with a thick viscous liquid, could you eat it, keeping up appearances?
In addition to the first bad impression, its peculiar smell may also make you feel disgusted.
How to Eat
Nonetheless, Ika no Shiokara is actually packed with distinctive umami and is unexpectedly tasty, though it is quite salty and has a strong taste.
Therefore, we Japanese like to eat Ika no Shiokara especially with steamed plain rice. Additionally, since it is quite salty and full of umami, the squid bits are sometimes used in pasta dishes, vegetable salads, or Ochazuke.
“Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of a bowl of white rice garnished with some toppings and entirely soaked in hot green tea. In the video, the topping is squid Shiokara.
Lastly, let’s see the ingredients. Based on the label on the side of the jar, the main ingredients of my Ika no Shiokara are squid, salt, mirin sweet cooking rice wine, fermented seasoning, amino acids, glycerol, sorbet, alcohol, and sweeteners.
Where to Buy
Ika no Shiokara is a common Japanese food that has been around for centuries, and it can be bought in supermarkets and grocery stores around the country.