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- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
The Wakasa area has been known since the Asuka and Nara periods as a "miketsukuni" (province of food), where people were allowed to deliver foodstuffs to the Imperial Court in the capital, and the area played an important role in the food industry. Mackerel, in particular, was fatty and tasty, and large numbers were transported to Kyoto along the "saba kaido" (mackerel road) by "back-breaking" fish carriers who carried the fish on foot. It is said that the salt used to prevent spoilage was just the right amount by the time the mackerel reached Kyoto. From the time of the Goshoku era to the present, seafood from Wakasa Bay has been prized throughout Japan as "Wakasa mono" (Wakasa fish). In the Wakasa region, where mackerel of such high quality are caught, "Maruyaki Saba" is a local dish made by grilling the whole fish on bamboo skewers. In the Ono City area of the Reinan region, the custom of eating grilled mackerel on July 2, the 11th day after the summer solstice, is called "Hangesho," and it is said to have originated when the lord of Ono (present-day Ono City) distributed grilled mackerel to his people after they were tired from rice planting. （In the Wakasa area, there is a custom of distributing Kashiwa-mochi (oak cakes) and grilled mackerel to relatives during the May vacation (after rice planting is finished, a vacation is decided by the district).
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It is eaten throughout the year, but is especially popular around July 2, when it is called "Hangesho".
- How to eat
Open the back of the mackerel and skewer it with a bamboo or thatch skewer, sewing it from the head to the tail to form a single fish. Grill slowly over a charcoal fire for about 25 minutes, paying attention to the heat. In the Wakasa region, the fish is usually eaten with ginger soy sauce. It is also seasoned and used in grilled mackerel stew and Namagusa soup.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The fish is sold at fresh fish stores, restaurants, and supermarkets as a specialty. Many people from outside of the prefecture come to enjoy the fragrant smell of the mackerel grilled over charcoal and the plump, fatty flesh of the mackerel. Although the amount of mackerel landed has decreased, recently efforts have been made to cultivate the fish to take advantage of the beautiful sea, and Obama City began cultivation in June 2016. The mackerel are called "yoppari saba," and are mixed with sakekasu (sake lees) in their feed, which has no odor and is highly valued for its quality.