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 fish cake

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)?

Chikuwabu wheat cake

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.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia ちくわぶ, 竹輪 )


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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