Gohan no Tomo: First Modern Furikake Product
Rice and miso soup are the staples of the Japanese diet, and we like to eat a warm bowl of white rice, putting (sprinkling) something salty or savory on top of it.
When it comes to salty topping/garnish for plain rice, Umeboshi plums are most common, and in fact, the pickled plums go perfectly with it.
Meanwhile, as for the savory food, “Furikake (ふりかけ)” is the most-consumed.
Furikake consists of dry mini flakes/granules made from ingredients, such as meat, fish, seafood, seaweed, and eggs, and seasons white rice.
How to use it? It is simple; after putting steamed plain rice into a bowl, sprinkle the flakes over it.
It is said that the origin of Furikake dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333).
People at the time ate plain rice with bonito shavings or dry bits of salted fish, like sea bream, salmon, or shark.
Futaba Gohan no Tomo Furikake
During modern times, Furikake products were devised by several Japanese makers, and “Gohan no Tomo (御飯の友)” is considered the first modern Furikake.
The first Furikake product was created and sold in Kumamoto Prefecture in the early Taisho period (Taisho: 1912-1926).
As you can see in the photo, the Gohan no Tomo Furikake still exists! The other day, I purchased it from Amazon Japan and tried it for the first time.
In the Taisho period, when Gohan no Tomo went on the market, many people were short of calcium intake.
So to make up for the deficit, fishbone powder was adopted as the main ingredient of the Furikake.
Based on the label on the back of the bag, the main ingredient is “Iriko (いりこ)” dried sardine.
Others include white sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, salt, nori, fermented seasoning, aonori, milk sugar, starch, powdered egg yolk, and shredded kombu.
Recent Furikake seasonings rarely use Iriko. But thanks to that, this one is very savory and flavorful, satisfying taste buds.
Where to Buy
As mentioned above, the Futaba Gohan no Tomo Furikake is available on some online stores in and outside Japan.