Otsumami Snack: Cheese Chikuwa Fish Cake
When I think of classic Japanese cheese snacks, what come to my mind are these 3 cheese snacks I introduced before. All of them 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.
Now, let’s get down to the main topic of this post, the other day I bought a cheese snack well-known as an Otsumami snack at a 7 eleven, which actually is a fusion of modern processed cheese and a traditional Japanese food.
Cheese Chikuwa (チーズちくわ)
What I purchased this time is this food called “Cheese Chikuwa (チーズちくわ)”. As you might already 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. The fish used to make Chikuwa includes walleye pollock, sea bream, flying fish, and Atka mackerel.
As you can see in the photo above, Chikuwa is shaped like a tube and has a hole in the middle, and sometimes its hole is filled with some food to add another texture and flavor to the fish cake.
For example, cucumber is a typical food 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 in taste and texture. We love the contrasting food combo and eat the cake typically dipping in soy sauce.
Let’s get back on track. Like the combination of Chikuwa and cucumber, as the name indicates, the hole of Cheese Chikuwa fish cake is filled with mild, creamy processed cheese, which gives the fish cake a satisfying rich flavor, making it an Otsumami snack that is perfect for beer.
As with Cheese Kamaboko, Cheese Chikuwa tastes so good and is addictive.
Where to Buy
Both Cheese Kamaboko and Cheese Chikuwa fish cakes are long time favorites of Japanese drinkers, so they are available at most convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan.