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Imizu City's Kamaboko

This video, titled "Shinminato Kamaboko- Imizu City, Toyama" (新湊かまぼこ -富山県射水市- Shinminato Kamaboko -Imizushi,Toyama,Japan-), was produced by "_kashi77." It shows the manufacturing process of kamaboko (fish cake), a local specialty of former Shinminato, Imizu city, Toyama, in the Hokuriku region.

Kamaboko is a kind of "kneaded paste product" that is made by making white fish meat into surimi (minced meat) and then kneading it.
It's also a Japanese food used in New Year's dishes for New Year's celebrations. In this way, it is an indispensable and popular Japanese food.

Cod, shark, golden threadfin, wrasse and other white fish are used as ingredients; however, "Shinminato Kamaboko" uses surimi made from tile fish to enhance the flavor of the minced meat.
It's called "Kamaboko" when steamed, "chikuwa" when baked, and "satsuma-age (a type of tempura) when fried and eaten.

The origin of the word kamaboko comes from wrapping the surimi around a bamboo stick in a tubular shape.
Because the shape resembled the ear (boko) of a cattail (kama), it came to be called "Kamaboko."

Making Kamaboko

Here, we'll introduce how kamaboko are made.

1. Preparation
Cut the raw fish into three pieces, removing the bones, innards, and skin.

2. Cut it up into smaller pieces
Finely chop it with a knife.

3. Soak in water
Soak the minced fish in water to get rid of the odor This is an important part of the process to bring out the elasticity of the kamaboko.

4. Drain
Remove water from the fish until it is dried.

5. Surimi
Grind it down finely.

6. Seasoning
Season with salt, egg whites, and other ingredients.

7. Molding
There are different types of kamaboko such as "Ita Kamaboko," which involves molding the ingredients into a half cylindrical shape, onto a small board made of wood such as cedar; and "Sumaki Kamaboko," which involves wrapping straw around the ingredients.
As you can see at 0:12 in the video, each Kamaboko is made by hand, one by one, into the shape of a fish.

8. Steam
The kamaboko is then steamed.
This can be seen at 0:55 in the video.

9. Decorate
As you can see at 1:06 of the video, they decorate the steamed kamaboko with colors, such as the pink of a sea bream and other colors and patterns.

More About Kamaboko

In Toyama Prefecture, kamaboko is famous as a gift for celebratory occasions, and it is used as a gift for engagement ceremonies and wedding receptions.
In addition, kamaboko is often presented at births and milestones in life, such as entrance exams, graduations, coming of age ceremonies, housewarmings, and at Buddhist ceremonies.

It is said to be customary to cut kamaboko that was received as a wedding gift and to distribute it to people who are close to you and to neighbors in order to share the joy.
Toyama prefecture’s consumption of kamaboko is said to be the 6th highest in Japan.

Kamaboko is often given as an end-of-the-year gift or present and it's possible to purchase it from online retailers such as Amazon or Rakuten.

Fishing and Cuisine Around Imizu City

Image of Firefly squid with vinegar miso
Photo:Firefly squid with vinegar miso

Toyama prefecture, where Imizu city is located, is home to Toyama Bay where you can catch delicious and nutritious seafood.
The seafood caught in Toyama Bay consists of, white shrimp, firefly squid, and yellowtail caught in the cold season.
Himi’s cold season yellowtail is rich in fat and melts in your mouth.
Himi's yellowtail is a gourmet's delight, with its fatty, melt-in-your-mouth taste.
Trout sushi is another popular local specialty in Toyama.

Summary of Kamaboko, the Local Specialty of Imizu City, Toyama

Japan has its own unique culture that has been nurtured by the customs of each region.
Kamaboko, a craft perfect for celebrations, is a tradition in Imizu City, Toyama and Miyagi Prefecture.

The Shin-Minato Hikiyama Festival, which heralds the arrival of autumn in Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture, is introduced at 2:02 in the video.
This festival, along with kamaboko, is part of traditional culture that has been handed down through generations in Imizu city.

What did you think of Izumi's kamaboko?

At Yume Terrace Kaiou, a museum of food and health in Imizu City, around 40 different kinds of kamaboko, such as kelp-wrapped kamaboko and sea bream-shaped kamaboko, as well as local marine products and healthy teas, are available at reasonable prices.
You can also visit the kamaboko factory that shown in the video, and experience making kamaboko yourself.
At the Yume Terrace Kaio, there are no restaurants or cafes, so you will not be able to have lunch; you can buy some kamaboko as a souvenir and eat it to keep yourself nourished. A popular souvenir is the kamaboko chips.

When you visit Toyama prefecture, be sure to try the Shinminato Kamaboko introduced in the video!

Written By
Oct. 11, 2020
Japan
まえたけ(Maetake)
A writer who loves Japan
Kamaboko - A Local Specialty of Imizu City, Toyama. The Elaborate Decorations Are So Beautiful You’ll Hesitate to Eat Them!
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