(郷土料理) Posted by on Apr 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s time for the monthly dose of Kyoodo Ryoori (郷土料理). If you don’t know what that is, look back at some old posts and it’ll be clear as day and night. Today we’re going to take a walk on the wild side to Nagano (長野市). Nagano (長野市) is located in central Japan. It’s the city that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics.

The special cuisine that we’re going to take a look at is basashi (馬刺し). Basashi (馬刺し) is horse meat. It’s sometimes nicknamed as sakuraniku (桜肉). Sakura () flowers are pinkish, and so is horse meat. Hence, sakuraniku (桜肉) means sakura meat or pink/red meat. The common assumption people make about why people eat horse meat stems around the issue of poverty. It’s assumed that only poor people would eat horse meat because they can’t afford beef or chicken. In reality, horse meat is more expensive than beef or chicken. It’s actually only middle class/rich people that afford such meat. In Japan, it’s not uncommon to find restaurants that serve horse meat. You certaintly don’t have to go to Nagano to get it, but that’s what Nagano is known for.

Basashi (馬刺し) can be served raw. The meat is thinly sliced and dipped into some soy sauce, ginger, onions and sake (さけ) mix. There’s also baniku (ばいにく) which is a horse barbecue. The meat is marinated and grilled on a burner. Sometimes the meat is consumed with a shiso (しそ) leaf. A shiso (しそ) leaf is a edible green leaf with jagged edges. Shiso (しそ) tastes like mint. The meat (and sometimes rice) is placed within the leaf and consumed like a leaf wrap. Then there’s also bagushi (ばぐし), which is skewered horse meat on a stick.

The last thing I want to add is that you should keep an open mind about basashi (ばさし). You may find it revolting to eat horses, but think about some of the foods in your own culture and how some cultures might find that particular cuisine despicable. It’s all relative.

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  1. Anna:

    Hi Ginny,
    Plenty of other cultures eat horse meat, too. The two that I belong to: Swedish and Polish are quite fond of horse meat, actually. My husband’s family was very surprised when I told them. And in Poland people eat many other things that eerily resemble Japanese certain food stuffs, like for example – unagi. 🙂 The flavoring might be a bit different, but the general idea is the same. Yummy all around!

  2. Anna:

    Ai! Of course, I meant “certain Japanese food stuffs”. Sheesh! What’s happening with my word order? LOL!

    PS. Maybe I overlooked it, but could you be so kind and prepare a post on stroke order when writing kanji? I’m sure it would be helpful to all of us who are trying not only to learn kanji, but to learn them properly. Thanks a bunch!

  3. Iuam:

    “The common assumption people make about why people eat horse meat stems around the issue of poverty.”

    Papaya nalang sana!