Otsumami Snack: Cheese Chikuwa Fish Cake
When I think of classic Japanese cheese snacks, what comes to my mind right away is these three I introduced before, all of which go perfectly with beer and other alcoholic beverages.
Like those snacks, the finger foods and nibbles eaten with alcoholic drinks are generally called “Otsumami (おつまみ)” in Japan.
And the other day I again bought a cheese snack known as an Otsumami at a 7 eleven, which actually is a fusion of modern processed cheese and traditional Japanese food.
Cheese Chikuwa (チーズちくわ)
What I purchased this time is the snack food called “Cheese Chikuwa (チーズちくわ)”. As you may know, “Chikuwa (ちくわ)” is a traditional Japanese fish cake with several hundred years of history featuring its tube shape.
Traditionally, Chikuwa is made from “Surimi (すり身)” fish paste kneaded with salt, sugar, starch, and egg white, and the Surimi is wrapped around a thick skewer and baked or steamed or boiled.
By the way, the fish used to make Chikuwa includes walleye pollock, sea bream, flying fish, and Atka mackerel.
As you can see in the picture above, Chikuwa is shaped like a tube and has a hole in the middle, and the hole is sometimes filled with some food to add another texture and flavor to the fish cake.
For example, cucumber is a typical thing used as a filling for the Chikuwa hole. With a firm, chewy bite, Chikuwa is not fishy at all and very easy to eat, while cucumber is fresh and crisp.
We love the contrasting food combo and enjoy the fish cake typically dipping in soy sauce.
Instead of cucumber, as its name indicates, the hole of Cheese Chikuwa is filled with mild, creamy processed cheese, which adds plenty of umami to the fish cake, making it an Otsumami snack that is perfect for beer.
As with Cheese Kamaboko, Cheese Chikuwa tastes so good and is quite addictive.
Where to Buy
Cheese Kamaboko and Cheese Chikuwa fish cakes are both long-time favorites of Japanese drinkers, so they can be bought at most convenience stores and supermarkets around the country.