Fish cutlets and “take chikuwa” are symbolic soul foods of Tokushima.
Because the prefecture has both open water and inland sea, fish are abundant, and local supermarkets are filled with a variety of fish patties which are enjoyed daily.
Fish cutlets are often made with frostfish, lizard fish and Alaska pollack, seasoned with curry powder and other spices, then fried with a breaded coating. The dish was first introduced in 1955 by Tsukushi Kamaboko, then copied by other stores on Komatsushima Island, becoming a staple of Tokushima. While the ingredients and shape varies, they are all seasoned with curry powder and other spices. The curry seasoning makes them delicious even if they aren’t freshly fried, so fish cutlets are often enjoyed as snacks and side dishes, to the extent that the standard for cutlets in Tokushima are fish rather than meat.
Tani Shouten has been making fish patties since the latter part of the Meiji era, selling fish cutlets as “katsu ten” which are round and thick. Experts use as little water as possible, thoroughly mashing the fish to create the distinct texture. Using only the very best ingredients, only quality fish are used with minimal starch added, resulting in fish patties that have the flavor of good fish without the fishy smell. Delicious as is, they taste even better heated making the crust crispier and the patty softer, bringing out the curry seasoning. In Tokushima, the fish cutlets are enjoyed with sauce or mayonnaise, placed on udon noodles are even diced into “okonomiyaki”. We recommend enjoying a freshly fried fish cutlet if you visit Komatsushima.
Tani Shouten also produces and sells “take chikuwa (bamboo shaped fish sticks).
“Take chikuwa” is considered a local specialty, and is made by baking fish paste that has been spread onto a piece of bamboo. While most “chikuwa” sold in Japan have a hole, “take chikuwa” from Komatsushima are sold with the bamboo. There is a famous scene in The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) where Yoshitsune Minamoto and his men arrive on Komatsushima for the Battle of Yashima. Yoshitsune saw fishermen eating the “take chikuwa” and was amazed at how delicious it tasted. The locals enjoy biting into the chikuwa with the bamboo still attached, or using sudachi citrus to flavor the patty.
Tani Shouten also sells chikuwa with snapper, small fish tempura, shrimp tempura, sesame tempura and variety packs online which can be enjoyed at home.
- Tani Chikuwa Shouten
- 3-59 Yokosu-cho, Komatsushima-shi, Tokushima 773-0006
- TEL 0885-32-0867
- URL http://www.tanishouten.co.jp/