- Main lore areas
The whole prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Bonito,garlic,condiments such as onions and green onions
- History/origin/related events
Bonito, the prefectural fish of Kochi, is a common foodstuff eaten on a daily basis. “Bonito tataki " was a fisherman's meal on board a boat, and was later introduced to the public. At a time when preservation techniques were not available, a method of “tataki” had been developed as a way of eating less fresh bonito on board. “Bonito tataki” reduces the fishy smell of bonito. The word "tataki" means "tataku (“beat” in Japanese) as the name implies. It is said to have originated in the cooking process, where it was tapped with salt or sauce to blend the flavors. Nowadays, “Bonito tataki” is a nationwide menu, but in Kochi Prefecture, the particulars and recipes vary slightly by region and community. In Kochi Prefecture, where tataki cuisine is popular, foodstuffs other than bonito fish are also eaten as tataki, such as moray eels and other fish, meat, shiitake mushrooms, pumpkins and eggplants, depending on the region. In the case of vegetables, tataki are boiled or fried and served with sauce or condiments on top. They also offer vegetables and fish tataki, which combine seasonal fish and vegetables, such as horse mackerel and eggplant.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
With the exception of one season in winter, bonito is eaten all year round, but the fatty autumn bonito is considered the best for tataki.
The first bonito of early summer, which is caught during the season of fresh green leaves, is also considered delicious and is very popular.
It has taken root as a food custom throughout the prefecture, and is a staple of "sahabachi cuisine," an indispensable part of weddings, funerals, and Shinto rituals.
- How to eat
The bonito is cut into three pieces, and the meat is cut into two parts, the back and belly, and placed on a grill and brazed vigorously. The tough skin of the bonito becomes easier to eat and richer in flavor when it is roasted over a fire. Because it is cooked, it also preserves the fish to a certain extent. It is said to be best to roast it over straw to bring out its flavor, but in most households, it is roasted over a gas flame.
Once grilled, the bonito is made into thick slices of sashimi. The sashimi is placed on a cutting board, sprinkled with salt, and lightly tapped. This "tataki" process is said to be the origin of the word "tataki. After tataki with salt, sprinkle a sauce made of yuzu vinegar and soy sauce over the fish and place it on a tataki plate.
Sprinkle with thin slices of garlic, and if desired, sprinkle with thinly sliced green onion or tamanegi.
The method of preparing bonito tataki differs slightly from region to region, and there are as many varieties as there are households and restaurants.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The fish is available not only in Kochi Prefecture, but also at various restaurants such as izakaya (Japanese style pubs) and direct sales outlets.
Fresh fish stores also sell "bonito tataki". There are also many dishes using bonito tataki in Kochi Prefecture, such as "Tosa-maki," sushi wrapped in bonito tataki.
source : Agricultural Products Marketing Strategy Division, Agricultural Promotion Department, Kochi Prefecture / Tosa Traditional Food Study Group