Category Archives: tradition

Traditional Food In Japan

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Traditional Japanese food? (Photo by Blossom I)

Fish burger

While doing fieldwork in Japan, I received a strange email message from a restaurant owner in a small fishing town that sits on the Southern coast of the island of Shikoku. The message explained that in an effort to revitalize the local economy, high school students had adapted the local specialty of seared tuna (katsuo tataki) into a burger. The burger was certainly not on the list of the dishes I was planning on investigating but I went along with it. When I arrived at the school, I was greeted with a full TV crew and a writer from the local newspaper. With the help of two high school student, we lined up a dozen locally baked buns flavored with dried bonito flakes, smeared tartar sauce with locally grown Japanese ginger bulb (myoga), carefully placed a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato and finally stacked slices of seared tuna which had been fished the same morning. As I prepared to bite in the burger, the cameraman, intent on pleasing his audience, focused on my reaction. I looked in the direction of the high school students their eyes full of hope, thought about the restaurant and the community of this small town. “Delicious,” I said with my mouth still full and, just like that, I had inadvertently endorsed a new regional dish.

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