Week two continues the new interest in eating illicit foods. Amazing objects of culinary delight so good they had to be outlawed in the United States. Ok, maybe it's because they are potentially unsafe in the eyes of the government, or potentially rare or endangered.. it's hard to say.
Through a serendipitous connection and some computer tech support we found ourselves in an authentic Japanese Nabe restaurant, complete with overwhelming hospitality from the restaurant's matron. We were fortunate enough to get a set meal consisting of several courses before the main dish of one of the finest bowls of soup in Japan. To most this would be reason enough to write a long diatribe about flavor, presentation, and an amazing experience, but not in our case. For us there was another star spotted on the menu which took center stage in our minds, hearts, and stomachs...
That's right, whale. Possibly Moby Dick, or Shamu, it's hard to tell when it shows up on your table. If tuna is "chicken of the sea," then whale is most definitely "beef of the sea." This delicacy is deeper, yet more subtle in flavor than the aforementioned tuna, a dark maroon in color, and a fine texture that melts in your mouth.
A simple whale sashimi was first accompanied by a saucer of shoyu (a.k.a. Soy sauce) along with grated ginger, garlic, and green onions to be mixed in the saucer. Dip a slice of whale, put it in your mouth, and enjoy the new flavors and textures unlike any other sea creature (thanks for your comments and emails! about the obvious oversight).
The second dish was battered and fried whale with a small green salad with a quasi-ranch dressing. This almost seemed like an American presentation of whale, maybe something you'd see at the whale fisher's annual potluck picnic. Of course it was phenomenally prepared so as to not overwhelm the whale's taste and mouth-feel, the salty batter bringing out the flavor of the whale while the crunchy exterior added to the silky texture of the meat.
[Nate Sez] You want to know what I think about whale? ITS REALLY DELICIOUS.
Fuck the Whales! I'd like to make carpaccio out of all their tubby asses!
But really, it was surprisingly delicious. In fact, the politics are a little more complicated than you think - there is actually a whale meat glut because demand for consumption in Japan (and elsewhere) is quite low. So, really demand is not driving the killing of whales. Either abject stupidity and disregard for economic laws (or I guess there is a slight possibility that they are being slaughtered for legitimate research purposes...yeah right!) is driving the killing of whales.