Yakiniku-San Taro : A Nostalgic Fish Jerky Dagashi Snack
There are roughly 3 genres of snacks and candies in Japan, and one of them, “Dagashi (駄菓子)” is the genre of Japanese snacks and candies particularly loved by kids.
One primary reason why Japanese kids like those snacks and candies is that they are just cheap and fun.
Regarding Big Katsu, although the snack name is the abbreviation for “big cutlet”, the snack is made from walleye pollack and doesn’t contain meat like pork and beef.
Like Big Katsu, there is one more famous fish paste Dagashi snack whose name includes a word referring to a Japanese meat dish, which I purchased today for this blog article.
Yakiniku-San Taro (焼肉さん太郎)
What I bought this time is this “Yakiniku-San Taro (焼肉さん太郎)”, which is one of the nostalgic Dagashi snacks that I used to eat as a child.
As you may know, the Japanese word included in the snack name, “Yakiniku (焼肉)” refers to Japanized Korean barbeque, which is associated with meat like beef.
However, Yakiniku-San Taro is a Dagashi snack made from fish paste and contains neither beef nor pork. Specifically, according to Wikipedia, its main ingredient is walleye pollack.
Instead, the fish paste is flavored with a sauce tasting like a Yakiniku barbeque sauce and baked savory.
Similar to beef jerky, its texture is quite hard and tough, so the more you chew it, the more the flavor comes out and the better it tastes.
As I wrote above, the first ingredient of Yakiniku-san Taro is walleye pollack. The other main ingredients include wheat flour and squid powder. The fish jerky is flavored with soy sauce, mirin sweet cooking rice wine, sugar, and spices.
Since Yakiniku-San Taro is very cheap and only costs 10 yen (about 0.1 USD), it is particularly popular with children in Japan.
This classic Japanese snack is quite unique in flavor and texture, so if you taste it, you will either like it or hate it.
Nonetheless, if you want to give it a try, the Dagashi Yakiniku-San Taro can be found in many supermarkets and some convenience stores.