Japan’s Autumn Food
The temperature is getting cold and it’s finally autumn. Talking about autumn, there is a common term in Japanese, “aki no mikaku.” “Aki” stands for autumn and “mikaku” is taste, which actually refers to “autumn food.” When you say autumn food, first thing that comes up to my mind is “sanma”, a Pacific saury fish.
Sanma (Pacific saury) sprinkled with salt and grilled, with grated daikon (radish) on the side – simply delicious! (Photo courtesy of ayustety)
The company DO HOUSE, Inc. just recently released a result of their web survey about autumn in relation to food. The survey is participated by 1,000 people, covering both men and women between 20-60 years old.
“Speaking of autumn, what food comes up to your mind first?”
This is one of the questions asked in the survey form and more than half of the participants, 53.2%, answered sanma. Kuri (chestnut) and Matsutake (an expensive kind of mushroom) are next on the list, with 43.25% and 30.9% respectively.
Below is the complete list of the top 10 autumn food.
|1||Sanma (Pacific saury)||53.2%|
|3||Matsutake (one kind of mushroom)||30.9%|
|4||Kaki (Japanese persimmon)||26.6%|
|6||Shin-mai* (new rice)||16.6%|
|7||Satsuma-imo (sweet potato)||14.4%|
|8||Kinoko (mushrooms excluding Matsutake)||11.3%|
|9||Sake** or Aki-sake (Salmon or Autumn salmon)||7.8%|
|10||Ginnan (Ginkgo or gingko biloba)||7.2%|
|Based on DO HOUSE Inc. survey.|
* The term “shin-mai” also refers to a beginner or a novice.
** Different in kanji character, sake also refers to a Japanese rice wine.
You can find ginnan as a topping on chawan mushi, a Japanese steamed egg custard containing shrimp, mushrooms, etc.
As for what autumn food do they eat at home or outside, sanma recipes also ranked up to the top.
|1||Sanma (Pacific saury)||65.0%|
|2||Shin-mai (new rice)||27.2%|
|3||Mushroom (except Matsutake)||26.0%|
|Based on DO HOUSE Inc. survey. Click here to view the full list.|
|1||Sanma (Pacific saury)||21.0%|
|3||Mushroom (except Matsutake)||12.6%|
|Based on DO HOUSE Inc. survey. Click here to view the full list.|
Almost half (49.3 %) of the participants answered they don’t eat autumn food outside home.
What about sweets? When asked what sweets do they crave in autumn, sweet potato made it to the top. For men, roasted (baked) sweet potato, “sweet potato” confectionery, and roasted chestnuts are the top 3. While women chose “sweet potato” confectionery, roasted (baked) sweet potato, and chestnut pie (cake or tart).
Yaki-imo (roasted sweet potato) (Photo courtesy of Kanko*)
In Japan, the term “sweet potato” (スイートポテト) refers to a confectionery made of sweet potatoes as main ingredient. On the other hand, “satsuma-imo” is used to refer to sweet potatoes. “Sweet potato” confectionary is made by steaming or boiling sweet potatoes, skin peeled, crushed and strained. Then, it’s mixed with sugar, butter, milk and egg yolk. You can find it in elliptical shape just like in the picture below. It’s coated with egg yolk to give its golden brown color after baking.
“Sweet potato” confectionery (Photo courtesy of dreamcat115)
More about Sanma (Pacific Saury)
Why autumn is the season for sanma?
Sanma is composed of three kanji characters – 秋刀魚. The first character (秋) means autumn, 刀 for sword, and 魚 for fish. Sanma migrates seasonally in schools from north to south. Autumn is the best time because it is when sanma has more fat content around 20% compared to around 10% during summer. After laying eggs, its fat is said to decrease rapidly.
How to tell which one is a fresh and delicious sanma by just looking?
Here are some of the points to consider:
– stomach looks firm
– white part of the eye is clear
– has glossy color
– the tail joint and jaw part have a hint of yellow color
– large body size
Have you had any autumn food already? Do you have any food in particular you can’t miss having during autumn? Share it with us by leaving us a comment below.
For places to visit to enjoy autumn leaves, check our post here.
Latest posts by ren (see all)
- Japanese Seasonal Food: Fresh Raw Whitebait Bowl - May 19, 2015
- Japanese Hot Pot Dishes - February 23, 2015
- Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo – Exploring inside and out - February 4, 2015
Tamago Kake Gohan (T.K.G) Tamago Kake Gohan, T.K.G. in short, is a popular, very simple Japanese meal. “Tamago” is the Japanese word for egg, while “Kake” is derived from the verb “kakeru” means to pour something over and “Gohan” for cooked rice. Straight to its name, you basically just need an egg, of course raw one, […]
The Japanese fox (Vulpes vulpes), as mentioned in the first part of this feature, is a common topic in Japanese myths and legends. Continuing our discussion about the kitsune, we will feature one of its known ability: human possession. Kitsune’s Human Possession Kitsune is able to possess humans. The word, 狐憑き (kitsunetsuki), literally means the […]
There are several famous things with the name of Hakata: Hakata Dontaku (a big festival), Hakata ningyou (“ningyou” means “doll”), Hakata ramen (ramen noodle with pork bone broth) and Hakata mentai (“mentai” is a short version of “mentai-ko”, “seasoned cod roe”). “Mentai-ko” is often used for pizza or pasta throughout Japan. They have got local […]
After that nice city stroll, the hunt was on again – the hunt for autumn foliage that is. Earlier that day we started our hunt at northwest part of Kyoto (Kagamiishi Dori) where we found beautiful concentrations of momiji foliage. This time we were set to see one of the best night illuminations in one […]
In this post, I’m going to tell you about the oldest western food restaurant called “Jiyuken” in Osaka. Opened in 1910, Jiyuken’s retro-flavored appearance is now quite distinctive among newly built shops in the “Sennichimae” arcade in Nanba. The name “Jiyuken” “Jiyuken” can be translated as “The Freedom House”. According to the official website, the […]
Oyatsu (3) In my previous “oyatsu” post, I introduced a soft type candy product with the package of “Shingeki no Kyojin” (Attack on Titan). There are many collaboration products like that in Japan. [Disney] The most popular character is probably the “Mickey Mouse”. He is used not only on the packages of snacks, but […]
One of the good things one would surely miss about Japan are its delightful dishes. Japanese people love to brag their cuisines to visitors from other country. Topics about food are always present in any conversation. The presentation of the food served, as well as the satisfaction you get when you taste it are some […]
Oyatsu (2) [My oyatsu on another day] “Takenoko no sato” (Land of bamboo shoots) About 150 yen. This one is a sister product of “Kinoko no yama”. (Mountain of mushrooms) “Takenoko” is a chocolate coated cookie. “Kinoko” has a chocolate cap and a cracker stipe. In Japan, “The battle between the Takenoko party and the […]
If you are a tourist here in Japan, you surely have encountered this products in tourist shops, department stores and at the train station. Boxes and boxes of sweet delicacies associated with each place you visit – Omiyage. So what is an Omiyage? Well, most westerners will literally translate it to souvenirs but its a […]
Japanese companies usually hold 歓迎会(kangeikai or welcome party) to welcome new employees and 送別会( Soubetsukai or farewell party) for those leaving. In some cases, the welcome and farewell parties are combined into one — 歓送迎会(kansougeikai). These are usually dinner parties held in nice restaurants.The party is usually started with speeches by the company president or any […]