vermillion horizon

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Strange pink food

I’d like to think of myself as an adventurous eater. I am usually willing to try pretty much anything at least once. But in Japan, there was one food which I could never give much of a chance: kamaboko.

Kamaboko is a thin fish cake usually served as a garnish on bowls of noodle soup or with a rice ball. Kamaboko do not have a particularly strong flavor. Instead, their purpose is mostly to aid the presentation, helping the dish look more appealing. Kamaboko are quite pretty, often cut into the shape of a flower or a swirl – and outlined in pink.

But that color is exactly why I could not eat them.

I always wondered – why are kamaboko so pink? Is it some chemical that gives this garnish such a deep, vibrant color? And how is the pink so perfectly separated from the inner white part of the kamaboko?

I just couldn’t eat a food that made me think about it so much

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  • what's the big green-covered thing on the left?

    By Blogger Huckle Cat, at 7:25 PM  

  • It's a rice ball covered with seaweed (onigiri) - yum! I think that one had flakes of tuna mixed in with the rice. That kind of weirded me out at first, but now it's my favorite!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 8:29 PM  

  • um... and you have trouble eating the pink flower thing? : )

    By Blogger Huckle Cat, at 9:11 PM  

  • Yeah, who would believe that? :)

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 10:38 PM  

  • Hello, That a quite good question about our culture and I guess not so many Japanese know the reason why.

    We believe that the pink or red color has happy and hopeful meanings or that a red thing will work as a talisman. So we often decorate the party hall, party dresses or party foods with those colors when we'd like to celebrate our rites of passages such as the first monthly period (of course only for girls), marriage, retirement of the age of 60...That's also why many pillars of the Japanese shrine you've seen is painted red like;

    The this belief goes way back to Old China.

    By Blogger bun, at 5:10 AM  

  • Hi bun-san,
    Thanks for your comments! I never thought about that before how the symbolic color is used in food too. But now that you mention it, I realize it's true! Very insightful.

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 9:23 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Yup, at 1:37 PM  

  • Hi Dory,
    Welcome back! I'm so glad you found my new blog. I hope you'll continue to read it when you have a chance.

    See you!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 7:35 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Yup, at 6:10 AM  

  • What's new Dory? I will have to check out your blog again soon!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 9:28 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Yup, at 7:37 AM  

  • Good luck with those exams, Dory! And がんばって with the Japanese :)

    See you!

    By Blogger v_horizon, at 7:43 PM  

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