A Japanese Novelty: Uma (Horse) Sashimi

Sashimi Horse

I am writing this post for J-Festa, a popular blog that showcases the best of Japan.  This month’s theme is food, so I feel it is right up my alley.

Those of you that know me know I adore Japan.  It is my favorite country.  The culture is ancient, yet modern and alive.  The Japanese people are incredibly friendly, far more so than most other countries.  However, the Japanese food occupies a realm all its own – it is sensual, delicious, and utterly amazing.

My favorite food in Japan is easily tuna belly.  Sometimes I close my eyes and savor the tasteful memories of this remarkable, buttery cut of fish.  The belly is finely diced and the buttery flavor not only awakens your taste buds, it heightens your senses with an explosion of delicate tenderness.  It may be an oxymoron to state that something so delicate could cause such an explosion, but once you have tasted this treat, you will understand that this most probable oxymoron of words comes alive in an unimaginable way.

While I am sure you can eat tuna belly around the world, nothing compares to the fresh seafood in Japan.  The majority of tuna is purchased at the Tsukiji Fish Market Auction in Tokyo, held at 5AM.  I have attended the auction twice; both times, it has never ceased to amaze me.  In fact, I loved tuna belly so much that I named my dog Tsukiji, in honor of the time held tradition for auctioning this marvelous creature of the sea.

As luck would have it, I do not have any pictures of the marvelous tuna belly in Japan.  However, I do want to share an interesting ingredient and dish I have only had in Japan – sashimi horse.  In America, it is not common to eat horse.  In Japan, they have elevated this red meat to a glowing status symbol.

My first experience eating horse was at Shin’s in Zama, Japan.  He inquired if I had ever eaten this tasty, meaty morsel and at first, I was somewhat reluctant to partake in his culinary adventures.  Ultimately, my curiosity dominated and I could not resist trying this new treat.  Shin removed a beautiful piece of well marbled, red meat from the freezer and proceeded to slice it paper thin.  He moved magically and gracefully, as if slicing the meat was a work of art.  He placed it in front of me; chopsticks in hand, I swiftly secured the paper-thin delicacy.  As I placed the sashimi horse on my tongue, it immediately melted in a dissipating blaze of glory.  The sensation was unreal.  It tasted like robust, hearty, flavorful Italian salami.  Before I knew it, this luscious, sumptuous dish had disappeared before my very eyes, or rather, my chopsticks moved so steadily I devoured this heavenly dish.

Sometimes I crave this rich, well-marbled dish, but I know it is something that only Japan offers.  It is not something I can purchase at a neighborhood grocery store or even a special Asian grocer.  It is that once in a lifetime dish that awaits me on my next return trip to Japan.  Sashimi horse makes me long for Japan’s ultimate simplicity, a culinary world that allows basic ingredients to shine.



2 responses to this post.

  1. My homestay family got me to try horse, but didn’t tell me what it was until after it was in my stomach…

    But! It was really good!

    Congrats on third place with the J-Festa blogaganza! 🙂


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