Chikuwabu vs. Chikuwa: What’s the Difference?
The colder the weather is in the autumn and winter, the more I want Oden (おでん) at convenience stores.
As you know, Chikuwa (ちくわ/竹輪) is a popular ingredient in the stew dish, but have you ever heard of Chikuwabu (ちくわぶ/竹輪麩) before?
Actually, it is also an Oden ingredient sometimes seen in recent years.
Chikuwabu vs. Chikuwa
Chikuwa is a traditional Japanese food whose origin is old. One theory holds that it dates back to around the 3rd century AD.
Chikuwa is a variety of Nerimono (練り物) made from fish surimi kneaded with starch, egg white, and seasonings, wrapped around a stick, and baked.
Typical fishes prepared for the fish cake include Alaska pollock, shark, flying fish, and Atka mackerel.
What is Chikuwabu (ちくわぶ)?
While Chikuwa is a staple around Japan, Chikuwabu is a local food of the Kanto region around Tokyo. So those living in the Kansai region are not that familiar with it.
According to one theory, Chikuwabu was created as a substitute for Chikuwa, using wheat flour, because fish surimi was expensive at the time.
Strictly, Chikuwabu is not a variety of Fu (麩), as it also uses non-gluten wheat flour. The dough consists of wheat, water, and salt, molded like a Chikuwa, and boiled or steamed.