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10 Tasty Weird Japanese Izakaya Food, in Japan.

Food & Recipes

Did you like 10 popular Izakaya food menu I talked about the other day?

You might found already unfamiliar food with you in the post.

The different culture has different values of tastes, doesn’t it?

Not only photogenic food but also you should try “weird (but tasty) food” during traveling Japan.

Well, in a sense, weird food could be photogenic.

Even I am sometimes surprised when Japanese people eat really weird looking food, especially after our international marriage.

My husband gives me dirty looks if we eat weird food,

But hoping you are different!

So let’s take a peek of 10 tasty weird Izakaya food!

Grilled Shisyamo


 “Shishamo” (ししゃも)  is “Willow Leaf Fish” or “Shisyamo smelt”, which is It is a commonly eaten fish in Japanese cuisine.

It is simply grilled and is edible the whole body from head to tail, yes, THE WHOLE BODY includes “fish roe”.

Inside the small Shishamo body is full of roe colored light yellow, the head and tail are crunchy and crisp.

It is good well with common Japanese Izakaya drinks such as “High ball”, “Sho cyu”, and “Sake”.

You can tell how my husband looks to my dad when my dad eats the whole fish.



“Takowasa”(たこわさ) is a diced row octopus leg mixed with wasabi, soy sauce, and some ingredients.

Do not put “Tako Wasa” in your mouth too much at the once, wasabi will kick your nose.

It looks like a slimy texture, but, it is actually crunchy.

It is an adult nibble to enjoy tasting the alcohol, especially Sake.




I hope that you think still going to Japan…

Don’t be scared!

The next food is “Shiokara” (塩辛 ).

“Shiokara is a food in Japanese cuisine made from various marine animals that consists of small pieces of meat in a brown viscous paste of the animal’s heavily salted, fermented viscera”


Yack! It sounds not “Yummy”.

As same as Takowasa, it is the acquired taste for Sake and Shochu. Also, it goes well on rice.

It is a little (maybe more than little) fishy taste but rich and creamy, maybe that’s why it goes well with Sake, Shochu, and Scotch whiskey.



Let’s do the easy one as a break.

“Umibudou” (海ぶどう) is a seaweed that can be found only in Okinawa and the Philippines, which has small bubbles on stems. It literally means “sea grapes” and looks like tiny green grapes.

To me (I am a Japanese), its taste is nothing, just enjoy the poping and crunchy texture.

“Umibudou” is the seasonal food and doesn’t last its freshness, so some people call it “green caviar”.

If you see “umibudou” on the menu or you are in Okinawa from October through May, you should try this.

It is kind of fun to chew it.

Umibudou is the food that my husband can accept, moreover, he loves it.



Eihire” (エイヒレ) is one of delicacy food which is grilled dried stingray fin.

It is chewy like jerky, usually, eat dipping with sprinkled shichimi (Japanese chili peppers) on mayonnaise.

“Surume”, “Atarime” is similar food with Eihire, these are dried squid and also dip with mayonnaise.

These are weird foods but also well-known as a diet food because you need to chew much and they are low calorie.

Hire Zake (sake)


“Hire Zake (sake) ” (ヒレ酒) is the hot sake with charcoal-grilled blowfish fins immersed in sake.

Hum, who does think about sipping Sake with like that?

Generally speaking, “Hirezake(sake)” had pioneered accidentally by fishermen. They were trying to make their cold body warm with drinking hot sake, however, there was only terrible-quality sake in the market due to the shortage of rice during the war. Therefore, fishermen infused charcoal-grilled blowfish fins in cups of hot sake till the color turned to be yellow, and then terrible sake flavor unexpectedly came out delicious.

Today, “Hire zake(sake)” is much better especially using good sake. Try savory piping-hot “Hirezake(sake)” if you have a chance.



“Ba sashi” (馬刺し) is the slice of raw horse meat.

Probably, you can’t find this at the Izakaya chain. Basashi is the rare meat so that you have to find the special Izakaya dealing with fresh horse meat.

Imagine or not, horsemeat does not SO gamey, and is generally served with ground ginger, ground garlic, chives, and soy sauce.

Pick a slice, lay on the plate, put each smidgen of garnish, wrap it with chopsticks, and dip in the soy sauce.

The most famous place for “Ba Sashi” is Kumamoto Prefecture, on Kyushu island, but you can find almost anywhere in popular cities.



“An kimo” (あん肝) is the “monkfish liver”.

Hold your screaming yet!

Think about it, there is foie gras in Europe. That’s a goose or duck liver!

So the monkfish liver is called “Foie gras of the sea” in Japan, the taste is RICH, BUTTERY, and CREAMY.

The common dish of “An kimo” is sliced after steamed and chilled with the dipping sauce is generally ponzu and Momiji-oroshi.

*ponzu…The Japanese citrus-based condiment.
*Momiji-oroshi…It is grated daikon radish and red chili peppers. Momiji is the Japanese maple tree, and it refers to “Momiji-oroshi” because of its color.

If the Izakaya has a really fresh liver, you can find “sashimi” (fresh raw liver) on Today’s menu.

Don’t eat too much, it is high-calories.


nankotsu no karaage

“Nankotsu no Karaage” (軟骨の唐揚げ)” is deep-fried chicken cartilages.

It is pop corn-sized, crunchy, and no-gamey flavor, and also good well with draft beer!

It is my must-order food at Izakaya.

Nankotu is also cooked with a skewered grill.

Motsu Nabe


“Motsu nabe”(モツ鍋) is a type of Japanese hot pot dish, especially famous in Fukuoka. “motsu” means beef innards!

The soup is very simple, but it becomes savory soup after cooking together with beef innards, lots of cabbage, garlic, lots of Chinese chives.

“Motsu” must be fresh for the dish, the texture depends on parts of innards.

I like “small intestines”, it is tender and melting in your mouth.

By the way, it is known as healthy and nutritious food in Japan.



I apologize for the gross picture above. I guess Japanese people like guts.

“Shirako”(白子) is super weird for you, because it is a fish sperm sack, milt.

Especially milts of cod, monkfish, and blowfish Shirako are considered an extra-delicacy in Japan, it is quite pricey food.

The taste is rich, buttery and creamy, has little bit texture like creamy soft tofu, and It can be served raw, tempura-fried, steamed, or topping on a hot pot.


Are you there???

If I make you sick, I apologize.

But, but, it is a unique experience if you have a chance to eat!

In addition, are there one or two weird food in your country?

Like haggis from Scotland, (I like it! It’s very good well with scotch whiskey),

Like Black pudding from The UK, Balut from the Philippines.

You never know you like it or not until tasting!

It can be the best part of your traveling…

10 weird but tasty Japanese food in Izakayas, in Japan.

Might I interest you in this as well?


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