Thursday, January 6, 2011
Hagoromo (canned) Yakitori
A variety of food review bloggers, including the Onion's AV Club, have reviewed canned hamburgers. The point that this has in common with I'm about to review is that both yakitori and hamburgers are foods that should never be sold in a canned version. If you've had the real thing, you know that it can be a tasty and almost sublime experience that can only be realized in a freshly prepared presentation.
I found this abomination at Lawson 100 and bought it on impulse because I'd never seen canned yakitori on sale anywhere else. Hagoromo is more familiar to me as a maker of crappy canned tuna rather than crappy canned chicken.
There are plenty of little bits of chicken skin, and precious little actual chicken. The can is 55 grams and offers 139 calories, but the web side says that that includes everything (sauce, skin, chicken), not just the edible chicken parts. That makes sense because I couldn't imagine such a high calorie count for what little is there. In fact, I'd guess this would be the equivalent of one stick of actual yakitori if you were to get the real deal. I think this stuff is designed mainly as earthquake survival food. You can keep it in your emergency bag for up to 3 years, or you can serve it as a side dish to people that you don't like very much.
Before I popped the top, I expected that this would smell like that usual canned food smell. You know, a sort of eau de dog food? Yeah, it smelled like that and just a bit like chicken. Inside were some chicken tidbits suspended in some sort of gelatinous substance. I figured that it might be more palatable if I warmed it up and allowed the goo to liquefy.
Despite the unappealing look and smell, I wasn't too grossed out by the idea of eating this. I've had bad canned food before, after all. The texture of the chicken was horribly dry and stringy. It needs to be chewed quite a bit unless you prefer to swallow it whole. It has that canned food taste which I always guessed was due to pressure cooking mass amounts of the food as well as whatever preservatives are used. There is also a hint of a smoky, char-cooked flavor and, of course, low quality chicken. The sauce is slightly sweet and salty. It's not bad, but it's far from good.
This was bad, but not in a way that renders it awful. It's just overcooked, processed canned food that fails entirely to be more than one expects, even when one expects very little. If you need something for your earthquake survival kit, this wouldn't be the worst possible choice if you can't find anything else. Otherwise, give it a pass.