"Tamaya's Fried Steamed Dumplings" - Many Hokkaido natives know this tasty treat!
There is a phrase about Tamaya dumplings that many here in Hokkaido know by heart.
The famous line from the company's commercial, "Shumai, Umai!" is always followed by the response "Tamaya no Shumai Age!" (Roughly "The dumplings are delicious! Tamaya's Fried Dumplings!")
As you may have already noticed, these delicacies don't have the regular dumpling shape. There is a reason for this, and it's an interesting story best told by Tamaya senior managing director, Maki Matsumura.
"The original founder of the shop, Mr. Mankichi Matsumura, first opened the shop as a Kamaboko (fish paste) shop, but at that time raw materials were hard to come by. But the owner was a clever man, always thinking up ideas, so he decided to knead the fish he could get his hands on into a new product."
That's right, This shop has quite the history!
"Then he decided to use a bit of curry powder he had obtained. After mixing the fish and curry he instantly saw the commercial potential for his new product. He then began searching for a unique shape which could be mass-produced, and finally decided on the cylindrical look you see above."
That's right, this mass producible cylindrical treat has a curry flavor!
"As for the naming of the treat, that's a funny story. This was the first curry flavored snack that my grandfather had ever seen, so he accidentally thought 'This must be a Chinese food taste!' So following his thought process: This is a fried kamaboko Chinese flavored treat→I should name it something Chinese→What's a famous Chinese food?→Shumai!→Shumaiage! (Or 'Fried Steamed Dumpling' in English) Which is the name we've used ever since."
That's right, the name originates from a case of mistaken food identity! Which is why it isn't dumpling shaped at all!
The Fried Steamed Dumpling treat was first sold in Otaru beginning in 1960. Due to its popularity, in 1963 sales began across Hokkaido. This is the 53rd year the treat has been sold, and it's still quite popular!
As for the famous commercial, even though it was featured on television and radio for 20 years, it seems they are no longer running of the famous jingle anymore. Although you can't find it on the air now, you can still to it on the Tamaya homepage below!
The fish used are Hokkaido walleye Pollock and mackerel.
Without removing the treat from the bag, warm it in hot water for just three minutes. Then it can be enjoyed as is, or wrapped in seaweed. In my house we often included it in our vegetable dishes.
Mr. Matsumura suggests eating it with "soy sauce and grated radish" for a delicious snack.
In recent years, it has become popular to use mayonnaise and bread to create a delicious Fried Steamed Dumpling sandwich!
This treat also makes the perfect lunch-bag addition! For those raised in Hokkaido, perhaps this brings back memories of childhood, but for those who have yet to try a bite be sure to check the homepage below to pick up some for yourself!
■玉屋食品株式会社 (Tamaya Foods)
Location: 7-8, 5-Chome, Shinko, Otaru
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)