Translated by Moeko Noda
Three 'Chinmi (珍味)' s from Japanese Supermarkets that Goes Well with White Rice
Written by NakanoArito
White rice is THE comfort food for the Japanese. We have long been pursuing the search for a perfect harmony created with white rice and its side dishes.
Delicious and capable of long-term preservation, chinmi spices up the white canvas of rice served on a rice bowl.
Chinmi, A Japanese Side Dish
Chinmi has roughly two genres. One is eaten as snacks or munchies with alcohol the way dried food is eaten, and the other goes on the dinner table as a side dish. Just like eating bread with jam, Japanese people eat rice with side dishes.
If you take a look at Japanese supermarkets, you will see numbers of chinmis in the shelves. In this article, I will introduce three popular chinmis sold in supermarkets.
Rich and deep, 'Uniika'
This is a mixture of squid and sea urchin, one of the three major unusual foods in Japan. It also has sake lees and herring roes mixed into it. When you open the lid, you smell a wafting scent of sake lees that appeals to your appetite. Once in the mouth, the taste of sea urchin fills the mouth and the thick taste of sake lees and sea urchin melts together on the tongue. When you chew it with rice, the toughness of the squid and the herring roe will enhance the delicious taste.
Just a spoonful of 'uniika' will make a good side dish on its own.
Light Tasted Golden 'Mamakari'
Japan is a country surrounded by the sea, so it is no wonder that marine products have been on the dining table for as long as anyone can remember. 'Mamakari' is a pickled product of a kind of a herring. The smell of vinegar floats off from from the package when you open it. When you put it in your mouth with white rice, the mild taste of the rice will spread in the light sour taste of vinegar.
The fish is tough and the dish is filling, whose texture is similar to that of sardines. There are almost no fish bones in this dish, since it is processed beforehand. I would recommend it to those who want to eat fish without the fuss of preparing it.
'Ikamemtai' for when you want a strong accent on the table
This dish is a good fit for those who want to eat a lot of white rice. It is made by dressing raw squid with 'mentaiko'. Each time you chew, the flavor of the squid spreads in the mouth, and a moment later you get the punch of pepper. Now you put rice in your mouth – it counters the spiciness and makes the taste milder.
White rice and its side dishes are an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine, and chinmis are a part of it. Other than the ones I introduced here, many chinmis are hidden in the shelves of supermarkets. Why not eat and compare a number of those chinmis?