Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Hot Cocktail Cheese in Kamaboko (chikama)
Kamaboko is various types of white fish processed and formed into loaves. It's sold in plastic tubes in convenience stores as a snack and the promise of something with three different peppers (jalepeno, chipotle, and green pepper) as well as cheese made me overlook the fact that I hate most fish. I decided to pick up this fish log and give this a try. Incidentally, when cheese is in this and it's sold as a snack, it's called chikama. Kamaboko is generally used in soups rather than eaten as a snack.
This is made by a company called Maruzen, which makes a lot of these sorts of tubular fish loaf products. They also sell a very scary product called "fish sausage". I'm not sure that the Western world is ready for such gustatory possibilities.
The tube is about 16 cm (about 6 in.) long and weighs 60 grams (about 2 oz.). One of the great benefits of fish loaf as a snack is that it's pretty low in calories. If you could choke back the contents of the entire tube, you'd only be ingesting 81 calories.
One might suspect that the little red piece of tape on the plastic would be a way of removing the tightly wrapped fish product from it's poly shell. I removed the tape and only the tape came off. I had to cut off the metal bit holding one end together to get at the fish loaf inside.
This stuff smells like very stinky old fish. The texture is slightly rubbery, but it's easy to bite into. It takes awhile to chew though. This is a bad thing because it means the flavor of old fish is in your mouth until you masticate enough to force it down your throat. The dominating flavor is definitely that of fish, with a hit of heat after you chew it a bit. I don't know how much of each type of pepper is in it, but I don't detect any particular pepper flavors except some jalapeno heat. There is actually very little cheese in it and even if you happen to find a piece with a tiny cube of orange processed stuff, you don't taste anything but the heavy fish flavor.
This was genuinely gross. My mouth rebelled. My stomach wanted to rebel violently. I don't think that there was anything wrong with the kamaboko, but rather that I am simply not a candidate for a rubbery snack that tastes and stinks like very old fish. I threw the rest of this away. The only way I kept my stomach from expelling this stuff in a fit of anarchy was to placate it with French meringue cookies.