Funa zushi originated in agricultural societies of Southern China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. It is a food using the fermentation process of the grain to its full advantage - a specialty of rice - making people. This nare zushi was also made in parts of Kyushu, Chubu and Kanto, but most of it has disappeared from our tables. Only here in Shiga has it remained. The process was conveyed to the next generation and in trying to differentiate the taste with that of other families, it has become a delicacy you cannot find in other areas. The season for crucian carp is very short, only the months of mid February to mid April. When the eggs are about to hatch. The type of carp most suited for funa zushi is nigorobuna (round crucian carp) a type special to Lake Biwa. Nigorobuna comes from the phrase "niru ni koroai (just ready to boil)," which has a similar intonation. The scales are removed while the fish is still alive and its intestines are carefully taken out in a process called tsubo nuki. The stomach is left with only eggs in it and stuffed with salt, and stored until the summertime. During the hottest summer days, it is Washed and dried, and re-pickled again, and this time stuffed with Omi rice. Finally, after two years, we are able to enjoy this funa zushi. It is said that the best way to enjoy funa zushi is to thinly slice it and to have it with sake, but it is also good boiled and eaten with soy sauce, you can also have it as a topping on ochazuke (rice with green tea or stock poured over the top). The fermentation process adds a very distinct aroma, similar to that of cheese, allowing you to enjoy both sweet and sour taste at once. It used to be a food for special occasions such as New Year’s, festivals, funerals, and other services. Unbelievable amount of time and preparation is required for this delicacy.
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