Mamakari Okayama


Mamakari Fish Dishes

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


mamakari, 飯借り (ままかり) Japanese sardinella,

officially called

sappa サッパ Sardinella zunasi
kiiwashi キイワシ

Lives in the Setonaikai Sea of Japan along the estuaries of rivers, about 20 cm long. Often together with the fish konoshiro コノシロ ・このしろ (鮗) or tsunashi, another small herring.
Mamakari dishes are only prepared along the coastlines of the Inland sea, especially in Okayama. The fish itself is found along other coastal areas, where it has a lot of different names.

It is caught all year, but best SHUN from February to April. Most often eaten with some vinegar preparations. The intestines are taken out and it is kept in salt and vinegar before consumption. Sanbaizu vinegar is quite popular with this fish.
Grilled over charcoals is also a local way to eat it, especially directly on the beach, with the innards still inside.
At the Ariakekai Sea this grilling is called "ponpoko yaki" ポンポコやき because of the sound when grilling the fish and the innards start heating up. The fish itself is called "hadara" ハダラ, usually caught by chance when fishing for shrimp.

The whole fish, with a few cuts in both sides in the flesh, can be deepfried as karaage too, eaten with head, bones and all.
Nanbanzuke 南蛮漬 is prepared frying the filets in oil before preserving them in vinegar.

mamakari, to borrow rice from your neighbours ...
The famous autor of the Meiji period, Narushima Ryuboku 成島 柳北 (なるしま りゅうほく)(1837 - 1884)) wrote in his diary from Okayama in 1869 :

"It looks like a small herring. When a fisherman catches it and brings it home to eat, it tasts very well. When he has finished all the rice at home, the wife goes to the neighbour to borrow some cooked rice and they continue eating. Hence the name."
Others say the fishermen used to grill the fish right on their boats and when the rice of one boat was eaten, they would drive to the next one and ask for his to share.

o-manma おまんま "omamma" is a childrens way of calling cooked rice.


Some of my photos from Mamakari dishes
Click for enlargement!

with yuzu citron

grilled as kabayaki like eel

with sanbaizu vinegar

with wasabi horseradish

with vinegar

dried with mirin

mamachobi ままチョビ mamakari anchovy


mamakari zushi ままかりずし sushi from sappa
Speciality of Okayama.
has many little bones and is not well liked in the Kanto area.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Tsunashi-zushi つなし寿司 
is made from salted tsunashi (konoshiro fish) in the central and southern parts of Okayama Prefecture. It comes as sugata-zushi in the form, nigiri-zushi on a handful of sushi rice and as maki-zushi with a nori seaweed wrapper.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Gabi Greve, in memory of Matsuo Basho

mamakari ya tonari wa nani o kuu hito zo

Oh Mamakari !
and I wonder what is my neighbour
eating tonight?

秋深き 隣は何を する人ぞ
aki fukaki tonari wa nani o suru hito zo

autumn deepens
and I wonder,
what is my neighbour doing?

Matsuo Basho, (26th day, Ninth Month, 1694)
WKD : Autumn deepens


mamakari no fune deru Seto no mizu sumeri

the clear waters
of the Seto Inland sea
when the mamakari fishing boat leaves

Endo Kazuyoshi, 2007


mamakari no sushi ogoraruru hatsu deeto

I am invited
for mamakari sushi ...
first date

Yonemoto Hitomi 米元ひとみ (1955-)

Related words

WASHOKU : Regional dishes from Okayama

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you Gabi san very much.
I enjoyed a lot of mamakari topics.
I always bow your endeavour to convey Japanese local culture.