July 15, 2010
When the heat rolls in, laziness comes in the form of “I don’t want to cook.” Maybe it’s also an instinctual thing where I am unconsciously preparing for a fire or earthquake which is more likely to happen in the hot summer months by hoarding a bunch of canned booty. Whatever the reason, I am always in search of canned food. And there’s a whole world of canned food out there to discover. Living in Japan opened up a new set of possibilities for me in the canned food sector.
Wikipedia says this about canned food:
The process was first developed as a French military discovery by Nicolas Appert. The packaging prevents microorganisms from entering and proliferating inside.
Very good. So canning is French and safe to eat. It’s also very 2009, thanks to the recession, when there was an 11.5% increase in sales in the U.S.
The Japanese have perfected all types of preserving methods: freeze-drying, canning, pickling, etc. In fact, my beloved two types of food natto and miso are perfect examples of how the Japanese join deliciousness with spoil resistance.
I’d like to showcase some of my Japanese canned fish favorites. All three cans range in price from $1.69 to $2.29. I am not that creative and always eat my canned fish with fresh steamed rice, but I just can’t think of anything more perfect.
From left to right:
Kakukawa Miso Mackerel (Saba), Nissui Miso Sardines (Iwashi Misoni), Nissui Soy Sauce Pacific Saury (Sanma Ajitsuke)
Kakukawa Miso Mackerel
I love the packaging of this can. It’s so retro and the image on the front actually looks pretty gross. Once freed from the confines of its steel cylinder, the fish and sauce contents plate nicely. I topped this with some shiso. I enjoyed this with a bowl of steaming rice, like I did with all the others. I liked the heartiness of this one – it was kind of addictive and reminiscent of Rousong (pork, meat floss).
Nissui Soy Sauce Saury (Sanma Ajitsuke)
This one was probably my favorite out of all three. The sauce is described as “Soy Sauce” on the can, but it has a little tinge of sweetness – but not so much that it tastes like teriyaki sauce. This was perfect with shiso streamers and a pile of grated ginger. I will definitely be going back for more of this soon.
Nissui Miso Sardines (Iwashi Misoni)
Another type packed in miso sauce. This was also excellent. I topped this one with shiso and ginger as well. Although thinking back, the miso types might work better topped with green onions to cut the sweetness of the miso. This one was less porky and more fishy than the mackerel miso one.
Doing this taste challenge confirmed the importance of garnishing canned food. All three types look pretty unattractive straight out of the can, but with minimal TLC can look quite presentable. On top of pumping up the aesthetic quality of the dish, ginger seems to be a great addition to canned fish since it provides life and contrast, thanks to its tart spiciness.