A taste that will make you crave for more – Arayo

A taste that will make you crave for more - Arayo

“Fugu (pufferfish) is so desirable, but my life is valuable.” Fugu (pufferfish) is definitely delicious, but it is also poisonous, and can only be prepared by those that have been certified. Food processing company Arayo was established in 1830, more than 180 years ago in Hakusan-shi. The seventh generation president continues to produce the “forbidden flavor” of “pickled pufferfish roe” using traditional methods.

“We’ve been secretly eating pickled pufferfish roe in this area since the Edo period. We used to filet the pufferfish and only pickle the meat, but the soft roe became popular because it’s tastier, and that’s our main business now. The soft roe is pickled in salt for a year then in rice bran for 2 years which removes the poison, making it edible. This process has been certified, and Ishikawa prefecture is the only location that’s allowed to make it.”

We visited the factory located by the Sea of Japan, and the odor of fish was strong but also accompanied by a pleasant “flavor”. It was on the border between smelly and delicious. Fish transforms into a delicacy after going through the fermentation process.
“I understand how fermentation enhances the flavor, but how does it get rid of the poison?” (Nakata)
“That actually hasn’t been explained. But when you look at the level of poison, it becomes reduced by 90 percent in the first year, and almost non-existent after the next 2 years. There’s a theory that the acidophilus breaks down the tetrodotoxin (fugu poison), but it hasn’t been verified.” (President Araki)

A smaller variety of pufferfish is used. In Ishikawa, the peak season is May when they are full of roe, making them ideal for pickling. Using rice bran that is prepared traditionally, rice malt and “ishiru” made from sardines are added to enhance the overall flavor. In the storehouse, many wooden barrels with large stones are lined up. The storehouse is made of wood, making it hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Fermentation progresses slowly in the natural environment of Ishikawa prefecture.

Arayo offers factory tours and experiential sessions to make the pickled pufferfish roe. There is also a café that serves ochazuke, onigiri and even sundaes so people can enjoy fermented foods.
“Pickled pufferfish roe is the most delicious as an ochazuke with Kagabocha. It also goes well with oil, butter, and garlic. Many are often tentative at first, but are surprised at how delicious it is.”
Seafood is abundant in Ishikawa prefecture, and sushi is amazing wherever you eat. But the pickled pufferfish roe is also a delicacy not to be missed. Definitely an ideal gift.


Arayo & Co.
61 Ru, Mikawa Kitamachi, Hakusan-shi, Ishikawa
TEL 076-278-3370 ( 9:00~18:00 )
URL https://arayo.co.jp/