Japan’s 3 Best “Chinmi” Food Delicacies
When it comes to Japanese food delicacies “Chinmi (珍味: literally meaning Rare Taste)”, sea urchin, or “Uni (雲丹)” is especially famous and widely enjoyed as a sushi ingredient.
Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi
In fact, Uni has been regarded as one of “Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi” since the Edo period (Edo: 1603 to 1868) and the other two are “Karasumi (カラスミ)” and “Konowata (このわた)”.
Karasumi is salted dried mullet roe that Nagasaki Prefecture boasts, while Konowata is Shiokara made from sea cucumber’s guts, which is known as a specialty of Aichi Prefecture.
In addition to this old edition, today, the new edition of “Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi” exists, and the 3 Japanese delicacies are “Kusaya (くさや)”, “Funazushi (鮒寿司)”, and “Kurozukuri (黒作り)”.
Have you ever heard of “Kusaya (くさや)“? It is actually dried fish that is a specialty Chinmi of the Izu Island chain, Tokyo.
Kusaya is made by fermenting fish, such as horse mackerel and flying fish, in the fermented brine with a characteristic smell and flavor called “Kusaya Eki (くさや液)” and dried.
Kusaya is infamous for its stinky odor. Especially when the fish is grilled, an awfully bad smell spreads and fills the air.
But despite the stench, Kusaya is actually delicious and is known as a healthy food with plenty of umami.
Next, Funazushi is the ancient sushi that Shiga Prefecture prides itself on, which is also a smelly food made by fermenting crucian carps and rice together using lactic bacteria.
The yellow thing in the fish is actually roe with a smell and texture similar to cheese, and despite its unpleasant smell, Funazushi is tasty like Kusaya.
So the black color of the Chinmi comes from squid’s ink, and from that, this Shiokara also gets lots of umami.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 日本三大一覧 )