Beni Shoga vs. Gari: Japanese Pickled Ginger
When you think of Tsukemono (漬物) pickles for Sushi and the Gyudon (牛丼) beef bowl, what comes to your mind first?
For the unfamiliar with Japanese food culture, we like to eat Gyudon with Beni Shoga (紅しょうが). Meanwhile, Sushi typically comes with Gari (ガリ) in restaurants.
Beni Shoga vs. Gari
As these garnishes, Beni Shoga and Gari, are both pickled ginger, some people seem to confuse them.
So here, I will explain how they differ and spot the difference between the two Japanese pickles.
Kizami Beni Shoga (刻み紅しょうが)
First, Beni Shoga is known as red pickled ginger in English. In its name, Beni (紅) means red, while Shoga (しょうが/生姜) is the Japanese word for ginger.
Beni Shoga is the rhizome of ginger picked in Ume plum vinegar infused with red Shiso (perilla) leaves. And its reddish color traditionally comes from their extract.
This pickled ginger is sour and acidic, prepared by shredding it into thin strips, and the shreds form has the name of Kizami Beni Shoga (刻み紅しょうが).
On the other hand, Gari consists of thinly sliced ginger pickled in sweet vinegar. It is sweetish and typically has a pale yellow hue.
This pickle features the shape taste of ginger, well recognized as a garnish of Sushi, as Gari removes fishy smells and refreshes the palate.
While Beni Shoga has its roots in the Kansai region around Osaka, Gari originated in the Kanto region around Tokyo.