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Japan’s biggest ham company is making 'tuna' that contains neither ham nor fish

9 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Nippon Ham’s name is pretty self-explanatory. “Nippon” is one of the Japanese words for Japan (yes, there’s more than one), and “ham” is, well, ham. So obviously Nippon Ham is a Japanese company that sells ham and other pork products, right?

Yes, but the company’s product lineup extends beyond ham, sausage, and bacon. They also sell beef and chicken, and also frozen pizza and Chinese dishes. And now Nippon Ham is getting set to enter a whole new field by selling “tuna sashimi.”

Now you might be skeptical about how much a company with such a meaty history knows about making good sashimi. Actually, though, that’s sort of a moot point, because Nippon Ham’s sashimi isn’t made out of fish or ham, it’s made out of plants.

Seen in the video above is Nippon Ham’s newly developed plant-based tuna, which contains no animal-based ingredients and is made primarily with konnyaku, a firm starch gelatin made from yam. Nippon Ham began selling a plant-based fried fish in the spring of last year, but now they’re trying their hand at recreating the look, texture, and taste of maguro sashimi (slices of raw tuna).

Plant-based sashimi is likely to be a more difficult sell, however. Sashimi is eaten raw, usually following a modest dip into soy sauce and wasabi, which means that the flavor and mouthfeel inherent to the fish itself are more distinctly felt than they are with a fried fish fillet. As such, Twitter reactions to Nippon Ham's plant-based tuna sashimi have been mixed, with some seeming cautiously optimistic and others seeing this as a dystopian dining development.

“That isn’t maguro!”

“I think it’s great that they’re trying. I hope someday it’ll be something that’s cheap and delicious.”

“That isn’t maguro. It’s just bizarre.”

“I’d give it a try.”

“We’re now living in the age where sashimi is made out of plants.”

“This reminds me of the ‘bio maguro’ they had in the 'Ninja Slayer' anime.”

As for why Nippon Ham is bringing this to market, the company cites the growing global market for plant-based meat and fish substitutes, and plans to position its plant-based tuna sashimi as a source of protein that will remain sustainable even if fishery resources become strained. At the same time, the company acknowledges that with Japan having a small number of strict vegetarians and no widely adhered to indigenous religious taboos against eating fish or meat, it will likely take time for plant-based sashimi to catch on. Because of that, initial sales will not be directly to consumers. Instead, Nippon Ham will begin offering its plant-based sashimi to restaurants this April, and is hoping to first win over individual diners and expand from there.

Sources: FNN Prime Online, via Livedoor News via Jin, Sankei Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We try Komeda Coffee’s new meatless ham katsu burger, and never want real fried ham ever again

-- The Ultimate Battle for Ham Sandwich Supremacy – we rank Japan’s convenience store sandwiches

-- Burger King Japan’s new Plant-Based Whopper tastes amazing

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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NO, thank you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I would give it a try. If it's not up to snuff, I'd go get the real maguro. I'm not a vegetarian but a little less animal dining wouldn't hurt anyone. I usually skip meat once or twice a week anyway. Having a dish like this (if it's good) would be terrific once in a while.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

tuna . . . made primarily with konnyaku, a firm starch gelatin made from yam.

It actually looks like it. Well, no . . . more like frozen watermelon ice. Not very appealing when you really want fish.

Some of the meat substitutes I've tried to date have not been very good, while some of it was just down-right disgusting.

And real maguro is so good!

I'll pass, thanks!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I use small cubes of konnyaku when I make curry. It is fine, but quite chewy, and something to get used to. I can't imagine it melting in my mouth like fine maguro. I I could imagine it more as an octupus substitute in sushi than as a sashima tuna substitute. I look forward to trying it when it comes out in the grocery stores. I guess it might compete with spam sushi for those who like spam in Hawai'i.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am struggling, why not just market as a vegetarian product.

To suggest, many will insist “tuna sashimi” has never been, and never will become associated with a agricultural land based product, let alone a delicacy.

If is isn't tuna, fish, ham or flipping buffalo for that matter, what pretend it is?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

 I'm not a vegetarian but a little less animal dining wouldn't hurt anyone. I usually skip meat once or twice a week anyway.

Way to go.

I am struggling, why not just market as a vegetarian product. If is isn't tuna, fish, ham or flipping buffalo for that matter, what pretend it is?

Yeah, exactly.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Would I try this? No way Pedro! Love me fish, full of nutrients and I eat plenty of it, wonderful grub.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Just 'No'

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd give it a try out of curiosity to see how close they were able to get to fresh tuna using konnyaku, though it looks a bit fishy (without looking particularly fishy).

Love me fish, full of nutrients and I eat plenty of it, wonderful grub.

I agree. Few things go better with a can of Stella than a nice bit of haddock courtesy of Harry Ramsden.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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