September 2, 2013

by Keita Matsui and Shiho Tanaka

What is Funazushi

Funazushi is fermented funa (freshwater carp). The biggest lake in Japan is Lake Biwa, in Shiga prefecture. Because the lake is filled with carp, funazushi is a special food product of Shiga. Mainly, it is the nigorobuna carp species used in the production of funazushi. Nigurobuna is a species indigenous to Shiga. The funa used in making funazushi is usually pickled in salt and rice. After the fermentation process, the funa are cut into slices and are ready to eat. However, funazushi has an extremely peculiar smell and taste, causing some people to like it very much, while other detest it. By the way, smell of funazushi is stronger than natto.


Way to make Funazushi

Basically, most funazushi is made with funa caught in springtime. Once captured, the funa’s internal organs are removed, except for its scales, gills and ovaries. One interesting point is that people do not cut out the funa’s stomach, but instead stuff the stomach full of salt. This is repeated with multiple fish. After that, all the funa are placed into a pail and are covered in salt. This process of placing the fish into a pail and covering with salt is repeated until the pail is full with stacked fish. Finally, people put a final layer of salt on the top and put a lid on the pail. Then, a heavy stone is placed on the top of the pail, which is then put in a cool, dark place. Again, this is done in the spring of each year.

In summer, it is time to harvest the fermented funa. People start by taking the funa out from the fermentation pail and washing it clean. Next, people stuffed each funa with boiled rice. Along with this, they also add salt and alcohol (sake) to the boiled rice. This pail put cold and dark place, too. Then, when everything is ready, people can eat their funa with rice containing vinegar and sugar. This is way to make funazushi according to the traditional methods from Shiga Prefecture.

History of Funazushi

According to historians, funazushi has been around since the Heian age, from about 794 to 1185. So as you can see, funazushi had been being eaten by Japanese people from a very a long time ago. And, the books in Nara age ware wtitten the ward funazushi. Funazushi made their ages is same way to make with now. There are the reason that people made funazushi. Funazushi used a lot of salts and rice. In Nara age, salts and rice harvested near Lake Biwa. Funa harvested in Lake Biwa. So, there are salts and rice near and used funazushi. And, there is prospect that funazushi was conveyed China. Funazushi wasn’t pickled salts and rice to save, and to taste. Funazushi used a lot of salts and rice, so it is high-quality food.

How to eat Funazushi

There are a number of ways to eat funazushi. Even if funazushi is called ‘sushi’, implying that it is eaten with rice soaked in vinegar and sugar, eating it straight, without any condiments or accompanying foods is actually quite common. One delicious way to eat funazushi is to dip it in ginger and soy sauce. Another way is to deep-fry funazushi to make tempura. Furthermore, you can put funazushi on crackers with cheese, and eat them Western style. Funazushi is also adored by some as the perfect accompaniment to Japanese sake (rice wine). We recommend you Boiled rice in tea of funazushi. And this is very light, so we can eat at any time.

Funazushi on rice

Where can we eat Funazushi

It goes without saying that because funazushi is a traditional food from Shiga, you can buy it just about anywhere in Shiga. It is sold in supermarkets, in shops that that make it, and in Japanese food stores. When you buy funazushi in the supermarket, you should choose funazushi made nishikibuna . In supermarket, there are cheaply funazushi made mabuna . Looks of funazushi made mabuna is biger, but taste is OK. We recommend you buy funazushi made nishikibuna. Nishikibuna and mabuna is a kind of funa .In Kyoto, funazushi is sold in Nishiki streets and Japanese food stores, because Kyoto is near to Shiga. But, you can’t buy wherever in Kyoto. If you want to eat funazushi possibly, we recommend you buy funazushi in the Internet. But, you should be careful about season, because funazushi may don’t be made.

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