- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
sea bream, rice
- History/origin/related events
The history of "tai meshi" dates back as far as the time of Empress Jingu's campaign in Korea. It is said to have originated when she prayed to the Kashima Myojin shrine in the Hojo district of Matsuyama City for victory in battle, and was pleased with the tai presented by the fishermen as a good omen, and cooked rice with the tai and offered it as an offering. The fish grown in the Kurushima Straits off the coast of Imabari City, located about 30 km east of this site, are caught in the fast currents of the straits, and their flesh is firm and resilient.
In Imabari City and other areas in the Toyo region, the whole fish is cooked together with rice, and after cooking, the fish is broken up and mixed with the rice. The flavor of the fish soaks into the rice and combines with the elasticity of the fish meat to create a very tasty dish. In the Nanyo region, including Uwajima City and Seiyo City, raw fillets are marinated in a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, egg, sesame, and soup stock, and the sauce is served over hot rice. The Nanyo area is close to Kyushu, and since long ago, fishermen have fished in the Hyuga Sea off the coast of Oita and Miyazaki prefectures. It is said that this dish was originally prepared by fishermen who could not use fire on their boats. Horse mackerel, which was often caught, was used in many cases, but the dish made with the flamboyant sea bream came to be called "taimeshi" (sea bream rice). Historically, in the Chuyo region, the type of tai-meshi with cooked sea bream, as symbolized in the Hojo area of Matsuyama City, was the mainstream, but today, influenced by both types of tai-meshi, there are stores that sell both types, and it is evident that people enjoy both types at home as well.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Ehime Prefecture is indeed rich in the variety of delicacies from the mountains and the sea. This is due to the abundance of nature in the mountains and the sea. Ehime is bordered by the Seto Inland Sea to the north and the Bungo Channel to the west. The sea in the Nanyo region, with its rias coastline, is called the Uwa Sea, and a tributary of the Kuroshio Current enters the region from the Pacific Ocean. The land is rich in topography and climate, with Mt. Ishizuchi, the highest mountain west of Kansai, as its highest peak. Although there are no large plains, Shuwa, Dogo, and Uwa are well developed as arable land. Tai-meshi" (sea bream rice) is eaten throughout the year, and is often served on festive occasions, as the fish is considered to bring good luck.
- How to eat
Wash the rice one hour before cooking, and remove the scales and guts from the tai. Add the same amount of water and seasonings to the rice cooker, lay the kombu on top of the rice, and place the sea bream on top. When the rice is cooked, take out the fish, remove the bones, loosen the meat, and mix it with the rice.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is well known throughout Japan and is sold as ekiben (boxed lunches at train stations) and processed products such as "tai-meshi" ingredients are also available. The rice mixture is also popular among children who do not like fish because it is easy to eat.