Funazushi (鮒寿司): Old-Style Fermented Carp Sushi

Natto, Japanese fermented soybeans, are a dietary staple (with a steep learning curve for foreign palates). Funazushi takes it one step further. If you find yourself at a sushi restaurant in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture order one of the oldest forms of sushi, the funazushi, to experience one extremely fermented fish.

Lake Biwa, located in the region, is the home of a Japanese carp known as nigorobuna, which is used to produce this traditional food. Taking one to three years to make, funazushi is considered a luxury. The fish is packed in salt and left for at least a year in a wooden barrel. It’s then mixed with rice, and packed away again for two to three years for further fermentation. The resulting taste can be closely akin to an extremely tangy cheese.

Originally prepared for rice farmers, this fermented fish is now enjoyed by locals and even a few tourists who are open to experiencing its head-on funky flavor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s