Beni Shoga vs Gari: Japanese Pickled Ginger
When you think of Japanese “Tsukemono (漬物)” pickles for the beef bowl “Gyudon (牛丼)” and Sushi respectively, what comes to your mind?
Japanese people like to eat Gyudon with “Beni Shoga (紅しょうが)”, while in Japan Sushi is typically served with “Gari (ガリ)” in Sushi restaurants.
Actually, these Japanese garnishes, Beni Shoga and Gari are both made by pickling ginger, so some people seem to confuse them.
The Difference: Beni Shoga vs Gari
Then, what is the difference between the 2 types of Japanese pickled ginger, Beni Shoga, and Gari? This article will explain that.
Kizami Beni Shoga (刻み紅しょうが)
First off, Beni Shoga is often referred to as red pickled ginger in English. In its name, “Beni (紅)” means red in Japanese, while “Shoga (しょうが, 生姜)” is the Japanese word for ginger.
Beni Shoga is made of the roots of ginger that have been picked in Ume plum vinegar infused with red Shiso (perilla) leaves.
Hence, the pickled ginger is somewhat sour and acidic, and its reddish color primarily comes from red Shiso extract.
Beni Shoga is usually shredded into thin strips prior to being served, and the shreds of red pickled ginger are generally called “Kizami Beni Shoga (刻み紅しょうが)”.
On the other hand, made of thinly sliced ginger that has been pickled in sweetened vinegar, “Gari (ガリ)” is sweet and sour in taste, and this Japanese pickled ginger usually has a pale yellow hue.
Gari is well-known as a garnish for Sushi and is characterized by the sharp taste of ginger, which actually helps remove fishy smells from Sushi.
While Beni Shoga has its roots in the Kansai region around Osaka, Gari is said to have originated in the Kanto region around Tokyo.