December 06, 12 | Fumiko Magota
There's a new specialty product available from Rausu called "Sakebushi." It is a salmon snack that was developed by Mr. Tomoyuki Asakura, a Hokkaido fisherman with 40 years of experience.
▲ "Because it's a new product, I've been losing myself in the challenge of the work." says Mr. Asakura. Even on the day of our interview he had just gotten back from fishing.
I asked Mr. Asakura how he came up with the product and he gave the word "hocchare" as an answer. Hocchare is the Japanese term for waste salmon, which break open causing fat to collect on fishing nets and turning it white by the end of fishing season. These fish are extremely low quality so they can't be sold as is, and while they are usable in items such as fish flakes after processing, they hold virtually no value.
"As a fisherman, I really would like to be able to use all of the salmon we catch during the season. So I wanted to figure out if there was a way to make some kind of food that uses the hocchare." So in 2007 the staff at the Hokkaido Food Processing Institution began to develope this product. After five years of hard work, and various collaborations, the product was complete.
▲ This is the "Sakebushi" from Noritomo Asakura Shop. It has a delicious salmon flavor.
Mr. Asakura told me that the most difficult part of the process to figure out was "how to dry the fish. Actually, no drying method or machine existed for the fish we used, so I had to make one on my own. However, the one I made wasn't efficient enough, so I placed a special order to have one made. Besides that though, I mean, we started from scratch so there were various challenges along the way."
The manufacture of the product is carried out at a small factory located on the coast in Rausu. I was allowed to visit the factory and see the process.
▲ To start off, this "hocchare" needs to be cut into flat sections. The skin is peeled, they are layed out onto special trays and boiled. After that the fish are put into the dryer where they are smoked and dried thoroughly.
▲ This is the machine which was ordered (as mentioned above). The man checking the machine is Mr. Asakura's son.
▲ The salmon changes color from its original solid white as a result of the drying process.
▲ This is the state of the fish at the end of the process. The salmon has decreased to just one tenth of its original weight. After this the product is sent to a private contractor where it is cut and packaged.
▲ The finished product. The strong aroma makes it a perfect ingredient in soup!
When compared with bonito flakes, the taste is a bit more mild and it's easier to eat. The content of aspartic acid and glutamic acid is also greater, between two and seven times as higher than bonito flakes.
Be sure to try this new Rausu product! It's a perfect match for soup with Rausu kelp.
For purchasing information, please call the number below.
〈のりとも朝倉商店〉 (Noritomo Asakura Store)
Location : 108 Asabu cho, Rausu
TEL : 0153-88-2308
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Fukko)
(Photography by Isao Kawamura)