Himomo vs Niboshi vs Yakiboshi: Japanese Dried Fish

Surrounded by the sea on all sides, Japan has developed a variety of preservation methods applicable to seafood.

Such marine products are mostly dried, and in fact, there are a number of drying methods for fish preservation in Japan.

Japanese dried fish has different names, such as Niboshi and Yakiboshi, depending on the preservation method, and in many cases, they are either used to make soup stock or eaten as they are or after grilled.

The Difference: Himono vs Niboshi vs Yakiboshi

Since Niboshi and Yakiboshi are especially popular types of dried fish in Japan, this time let me explain how they differ from each other. Further, here I will also talk about the meaning of Himono.

Himono (干物)

Himono Dried Seafood

First off, as “Himono (干物)” literally means “dried thing” in Japanese, it is the generic name for dried seafood, including dried fish. So Niboshi and Yakiboshi are categories in Himono.

Niboshi (煮干し)

Niboshi and Kombu

The word “Niboshi (煮干し)” may remind you of dried young sardine used for making dashi stock, but besides it, Niboshi can also be made of other small fish, such as scad, mackerel, or flying fish called “Ago (あご)”.

As you can see in the picture above, Niboshi refers to boiled, dried small fish, as in its name “Ni (煮)” stands for “boiled” and “Boshi (干し)” is the word for “dried”.

Niboshi is primarily used for making soup stock, but in recent years in Japan, to address the deficit of calcium intake, people have been increasingly eating it as a snack.

Yakiboshi (焼き干し)

Yakiago Grilled Dried Flying Fish

Lastly, “Yakiboshi (焼き干し)” is grilled, dried fish as “Yaki (焼き)” here stands for “grilled”. Traditionally, after internal organs are removed, the fish is grilled over charcoal and then dried under the sun or in the shade.

Fish prepared for making Yakiboshi ranges from freshwater fish, such as sweetfish and Iwana mountain trout, to saltwater fish, such as sardine, flying fish, and goby. 

As for how to eat Yakiboshi, the dried fish is typically grilled and served with alcoholic drinks, as well as being used to make dashi.

Incidentally, in recent years in Japan, the Yakiboshi fish has become a popular ingredient for ramen broth, which includes “Yakiago (焼きあご)” using flying fish called Ago.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 干物, 煮干し, 焼き干し )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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