Fish are a vital element in Japanese culture, where a diverse selection of ingredients is made use of with nuance to prepare each dish. If you have been to Japan or are into Japanese food culture, then you will know just how highly utilise Japanese seafood is used in ever meal. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, various types of fish are cooked in different forms to give great taste and nutrition for every meal.
In this article, we take a look at the importance of fish in Japanese culture and how it is viewed by the local communities. In particular, we examine the seasonality of the different types of fish, the prominence of Washoku meals and the rite known as Okuizome.
Tracing Back to Ancient Times
Japanese people constantly adore seasonally found seafood as in olden times in Japan, it was classy to eat fresh seasonal seafood even with borrowed money. A new innovation in technologies for farming and chilling units techniques has permitted us to indulge in fresh seafood across a year. However, seafood served in its best period still has the finest taste and good nutrition.
Popular fish in each period is as follows: spring (March – May) – chicken grunt, Japanese whiting, amberjack, bonito; summer (June – August) mackerel, conger, sea eel, Japanese flying squid; autumn (September – November) oysters, pickerel, mackerel, alfonsino, etc.; winter (December – February) scallops, flatfish, yellowtail, tuna, octopus, etc
What is Washoku
Washoku is made up of seven primary types of ingredients and 1 assisting ingredient. The principal ingredients consist of root plants, fruits, greens and vegetables, edible wild plants, pulse crops– of which soybeans are prominent– aquatic plants, and grains, of which rice is prominent. Included in these is a supporting ingredient containing animal protein– fish, meat, eggs and more.
While animal healthy proteins are changed to amino acids within the human body and feature as a resource of endurance, the vegetable healthy proteins contained in soybeans offer ample energy from a nutritional point of view. Thus a washoku meal can be full without the supporting ingredient. However, among the animal proteins, fish have the lengthiest record as a meal eaten by the Japanese society, and so it is an essential part of washoku culture.
Okuizome at the Start
Okuizome (or first meal) is a Japanese ritual that celebrates new infants entering into the world. Like a baby shower, except after the baby is born, and with lots of fish. About one hundred days into a new infant’s life, a full-course meal is served. The oldest family member of the identical gender pretends to feed the baby fish (pretends, given that they’re not developed adequately to eat solid food yet). It’s a festivity of new life, family, and the foods that deliver it all together.