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Traditional dish

Naresaba

Naresaba (Narezushi) is a traditional New Year's dish that can't be missed in the Uchitomi district or Tagarasu district of Obama. Also known as "kodaizushi" (ancient sushi), it is considered to mark the beginnings of sushi in Japan.

To make naresaba, wash the mackerel "heshiko" (fish pickled in rice-bran paste) in water, keep it in water for one full day, then salt, strip off the skin, open the belly, and stuff with a mixture of white rice and malt rice. Pack this in a cask, and your "saba no narezushi" is ready.

The flavor has a hint of high grade cheese, and the firm meat is slightly sweet with the taste of umami. Even those who turn their nose up at first sight acquire a taste for it after the first bite. The surprise felt at the gap between its appearance and its taste can be overwhelming.


1. Leach with salt overnight, then scrap the skin off of the heshiko.
2. Stuff a mix of white rice and rice malt inside the belly of a mackerel, slit down the back.
3. Stuff this into a cask so that the back is pressed down, and spread the white rice/rice malt mix once on each layer.
4. When the cask is full, cover it with plastic wrap (open a few slits to drain water), cover with a light stone weight for 24 hours.
5. Swap the light stone weight for a stone weight as heavy as the contents, for 10 days, or, if it is very cold, for 20 days.

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