Narutomaki: How it differs from Kamaboko fish cake
Often seen in ramen, Narutomaki (鳴門巻き), simply Naruto (ナルト), is a fish cake with a red & white spiral pattern, generally considered a kind of Kamaboko (蒲鉾).
For the unfamiliar, Kamaboko is a traditional Japanese food made from Surimi ground white fish kneaded with sugar, mirin, salt, and egg white, molded, and then steamed or baked.
Typical fish used in Kamaboko includes cod and shark, and the resulting cake traditionally comes on a wooden plate.
Narutomaki is said to have been named after a whirling current in the Naruto Strait between Naruto City in Tokushima Prefecture and Awaji Island in Hyogo.
But how does the fish cake differ from regular Kamaboko?
First, while the regular Kamaboko generally has an arch shape, Narutomaki is like a round stick, and its edge is typically jagged.
Since Japanese people have long favored Kamaboko as an Otsumami or an accompaniment for alcoholic beverages, the food is available everywhere in Japan, and the top producer is Niigata.
Meanwhile, Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, produces most of the Narutomaki consumed in Japan.
As Narutomaki contains more thickeners than ordinary Kamaboko, its fishy taste/flavor is weak, and the dough of Naruto is somewhat powdery.
Because of that, unlike regular Kamaboko, we rarely eat Naruto Maki fish cake alone.
Specifically, as for usage, we often use Narutomaki as a topping for ramen and as an ingredient for Chahan fried rice.