Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Food at Hirome 1 -- Shio-Tataki Donburi --

Shio-tataki (Seared Bonito Seasoned with Salt Only) Donburi

This is what I had today at Hirome: shio-tataki donburi (seared bonito seasoned with salt only and served on a bowl of rice). It was 600 yen with the small tea and miso soup.

To be honest, I have heard that in some fishing towns in Kochi, people eat seared bonito with salt only without any soy sauce or ponzu, but never tried it myself. It is supposed to be the oldest preparation method of seared bonito dish and not very popular even in this prefecture. I’m originally from a small fishing town in the eastern Kochi, but I have never seen anyone eating seared bonito that way in my hometown.

Usually, when making seared bonito, you sprinkle only a little salt (or no salt at all) over bonito fillet beforehand, and after searing it, you may or may not cool it in ice water. After slicing the seared fillet, you put bunch of minced scallions and sliced garlic all over the bonito slices and eat with ponzu or soy-based sauce. But for the shio-tataki, you use no ponzu, no soy sauce. You sear and slice a bonito fillet (never cool it in ice water), sprinkle good amount of salt all over and pat with hands. That's what I read about the traditional preparation method of shio-tataki.

Maybe they used rock salt for seasoning?

The shio-tataki was a totally new taste to me. Yes, as I had read in a book, it certainly brought out the taste of seared bonito better than eating it with ponzu or soy sauce, because tangy sauce and lots of garlic slices can cancel out the taste of bonito itself to some extent. If you want to fully appreciate the freshness of good bonito and the art of skilled searing, maybe shio-tataki is the best way. In other words, it’s no good unless the quality of bonito itself is very good. The shio-tataki I had today was not bad for the price, I thought, but for me, about three slices were enough. I grew up eating tataki with very tangy, yuzu-flavored ponzu-like sauce, so for me to really love shio-tataki over the ones I’m used to, it has to be the top-class one.


Anonymous said...

Obachan, it's good that you put the price for the dishes, it's very useful for me to compare with the prices we have here in Oslo. But 600 yen for this... I keep saying gosh I am in the wrong city, this is very reasonably priced, comparatively. Ok, perhaps I should stop comparing ;-). But I think more and more I am fascinated with Japanese food/ooking.  

Posted by OsloFoodie

Anonymous said...

Hi OsloFoodie,
You really have to come to Japan someday and enjoy Japanese food ;)
Yeah, 600 yen is a very friendly price, but the quality was just worth the price, nothing more... Usually decent seared bonito served at a good Japanese restaurant around here costs over 1000 yen, and tastes much better. 

Posted by obachan