A few weeks ago, I visited Tokyo, Japan on a special media trip arranged by The Sankei Shimbun. I was there to learn about the seafood of Fukushima Prefecture.
I had the opportunity to try out “Joban Mono” or the Japanese term for the range of seafood caught in the waters off the shore of Fukushima Prefecture. The warm Japan Current meets the cold Kurile Current off the coast of Fukushima, resulting in thick and fatty fish and seafood that are rich in flavors.
There are abundance of fish from the region, for example olive flounder, mehikari, goosefish and skipjack tuna. Other seafood include sea urchins, clams and octopus.
The 2011 Great East Japanese Earthquake and the unfortunate nuclear accident crippled the livelihood of the fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture. For the last eight years, the fishing industry has been rebuilding. There are active inspections for radioactive materials in all fishing ports in Fukushima Prefecture.
To ensure food safety, stringent daily inspections are carried out on daily catch to ensure the safety of their seafood.
During the trip, I tried out three special Joban Mono dishes:
- Sanma Popoyaki (Uenodai Yutaka Shoten)
- Clam Gratin (Okawa Uoten)
- Sea Urchin Clam Shell Bake (Kanifune)
Sanma Popoyaki Dumplings (Uenodai Yutaka Shoten)
This is a traditional meal for local fishermen and the birthplace of this dish is Onahama, Fukushima. Traditionally, Sanma Popoyaki are ground sanma (mackerel) seasoned with miso and spices. They are wrapped into round dumplings.
The dumplings have a light and springy texture. Once they are steamed, these fish dumplings are juicy and the fresh flavors burst in the mouth.
The version I tried was an adaptation of the original recipe; the Popoyaki were made into fish patties and deep-fried.
Clam Gratin (Okawa Uoten)
Clam Gratin are cheesy baked gratin filled with local surf clams. The gratin is served on a giant clam shell with a mango and papaya sauce.
The cheesy clams paired well with the dipping sauce. This was delicious and my favorite dish.
Sea Urchin Clam Shell Bake (Kanifune)
Sea Urchin Clam Shell Bake is a home style dish originated from Iwaki of Fukushima during the Meiji era.
In this dish, fresh sea urchins are packed into a clam shell. It’s steamed and then broiled with a cheese topping. The cooked sea urchin offers a completely different texture and taste.
Let Eat Fukushima “Joban Mono”
If you are in Tokyo and wish to try out Joban Mono, head over to:
Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052
If you post pictures of the Joban Mono dishes on social media, please include the hashtag #jobanmonofish. Show your post to the staff at Tregion Port for a free drink.
This is sponsored trip. All text and opinions are mine.
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