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  • YEAR OLD SUSHI EATING CHALLENGE

  • Created and produced by John Daub

  • ONLY in JAPAN

  • Good morning from Otsu city in Shiga prefecture

  • This is Ishiyama Station

  • and I've come here for something a lot stronger

  • than day old sushi

  • something that I would have eaten anyway

  • This - is year old sushi

  • It's a local delicacy of Shiga prefecture

  • a lot of my Japanese friends have told me the horrors

  • of it's smell and how strong it tastes

  • and how I won't be able to stand it

  • And they might be right

  • but I'm going to give it a try anyway

  • It's called FUNAZUSHI

  • and can be found in Shiga prefecture

  • located in the center of the country

  • wrapped around Lake Biwa

  • Japan's fish water lake

  • Otsu is at the bottom of the lake

  • just a 10 minute train ride from Kyoto Station

  • The lake is big and beautiful.

  • Shiga prefecture wrap around it

  • Being close to Kyoto means Otsu has got a ton of ancient temples,

  • Ishiyama-dera is one of them

  • featured in THE TALE of GENJI written in the year 1008.

  • Also featured in the Hiroshige's ukiyo-e print titled

  • AUTUMN MOON AT ISHIYAMA overlooking Lake Biwa.

  • And Near Ishiyama-dera temple is this store called SHISEI AN

  • which makes traditional funazushi.

  • I met the chef at the door!

  • KANTA INOUE

  • He's only 24 years old and already a master at the craft,

  • making Funazushi since he was 13.

  • On the side of the store are buckets full of fermenting NIGORO BUNA fish.

  • You can preserve the fish for up to few years

  • but one year is enough.

  • He carts a full bucket into the store to open.

  • One the biggest questions marks I had was

  • how bad does it smell?

  • How is it? Me too. No idea!

  • Funazushi is infamous as being one of the stinkiest foods in Japan.

  • The smell?

  • It was strong but not overpowering.

  • No problem!

  • It doesn't stink, does it?

  • Not really. Not much at all.

  • That's really strange!

  • Inoue-san dug deep into the bucket to find a good one.

  • The fermented rice has turned to pulp,

  • the lactic acid bacteria helping to preserve the fish.

  • It looks gross and may even smell a little questionable for food,

  • but there's a lot of good stuff in this sushi.

  • Nigoro Buna or white crucian carp has soft bones and preserves well in this method,

  • locked fermenting under the weight of a stone for a year.

  • Eyes and mouth

  • Sohow is Funazushi made?

  • The fish are caught in season before laying eggs.

  • The secret to keeping the smell down is to scrub and clean the fish well,

  • removing all scales.

  • Nigoro Buna's scales are easy to remove compared to many other fish.

  • When cleaned and rinsed,

  • Inoue-san brings the fish outside to prepare the fermentation process.

  • The Nigoro Buna are ready for the next step.

  • In the bucket, a base of rice is added.

  • Inoue-san then stuffs the rice in the head of the fish.

  • This will create lactic acid bacteria

  • considered a good bacteria

  • that will preserve the fish.

  • Close it up here.

  • It's just like that.

  • He adds another layer of rice to the prepared fish.

  • You can put more fish on top

  • With more layers, it gradually gets higher

  • One year in there?

  • Yes.

  • A year later, it's ready to be eaten.

  • Here's the year old fish Inoue-san has selected

  • for my eating challenge today.

  • In the kitchen, he cuts it thin

  • It packs a strong kick so a little goes a long way.

  • That spark of orange are fish eggs

  • which adds color to the dish.

  • The bones have softened and the fish's meat has been preserved well.

  • Inoue-san even made a mini nigiri sushi for me -

  • raw fish on rice like this.

  • A little garnish and the plate is now complete.

  • THE YEAR OLD

  • FUNAZUSHI

  • EATING CHALLENGE

  • Is unrefrigerated sushi safe to eat a year later?

  • Man vs food

  • Inoue-san brings out the tray of year old sushi.

  • The contents are confirmed.

  • This is Shiga Precture's famous FUNAZUSHI

  • Right here:

  • The usually way Funazushi is prepared

  • Near by:

  • An unusual miniature nigiri style sushi

  • and at the end

  • Nigoro Buna preserved one year in a barrel,

  • still smoothered in fermented salty rice.

  • One year in there

  • ONE YEAR

  • Total one year

  • Once again, my thoughts go back to how normal sushi is throw out

  • after sitting out for only a day

  • but this has been around for an entire year,

  • 4 seasons!

  • 52 weeks!

  • The taste doesn't hit you right away so

  • wait for it.

  • Wait for it.

  • There it is.

  • It's a little sour.

  • I take that back!

  • It's freaking sour!

  • I have some sake here.

  • I'd love some. Please!

  • Kanpai!

  • It's really good with sake

  • It really is.

  • Funazushi is really sour!

  • It seems when you drink sake

  • that sour taste decreases little by little

  • Sake goes well with it, does it?

  • Yeah

  • I'm pretty surprised because

  • my image before I started

  • before my quest to eat the funazushi was that

  • I was going to absolutely hate it

  • and it was going to be something that

  • was too strong for me to handle

  • Yeah! It's strong!

  • It really is, but

  • It's not as strong as I thought it would be

  • my expectations for the strength of Funazushi was

  • way high so

  • the first time you eat Funazushi I think

  • there is an initial shock because

  • you've never had this flavor before

  • it's not an easy flavour to describe

  • It's very sour, like cheese.

  • Like sour cheese or

  • like the saltiness of blue cheese

  • That's right

  • Instagram: onlyinjapantv

  • Kind of like a blue cheese sourness

  • to it. Maybe like yogurt

  • that's a couple days to old.

  • Something like this. But it's not ...

  • It's not bad!

  • It might be sour but

  • Depending on the maker,

  • it can be even more sour!

  • Smell even stronger.

  • Normally, no one eats it like this.

  • That's right. Not like this.

  • It's a “John Special

  • Yes. Yes. Yes :)

  • Thank you! haha

  • That's raises the question

  • What is sushi?

  • There are generally two categories of sushi:

  • Haya-zushi (or fast sushi)

  • and Nare-zushi, the ancient form originating in SE Asia.

  • Nigiri Sushi, a type of Hayasushi,

  • a slice of raw fish on vinegar rice

  • is what I know well

  • Like this one!

  • But Nigiri Sushi didn't come about until the early 1800's

  • it could be made quickly and enjoyed with rice,

  • a sort of fast food

  • while Nerasushi dates back about 1000 years,

  • funazushi a type of that ancient variety,

  • fermented for a year, the rice a preserving agent -

  • and still made in the traditional way around Lake Biwa