Monday, July 16, 2007
My sashimi sensation
The things I do for this job.

Before my recent trip to Tokyo, I had hoped to shoot a story on Japanese cuisine, more specifically the raw food eating culture, often considered the "height" of the nation's culinary experience.

Little did I know my curiosity would lead me to eat a plate of uncooked chicken.

Japan is famous all over the world for its sashimi, choice morsels of raw fish, delicately sliced into thin, mouth-watering slivers, ready to be dipped into a mix of soy sauce and wasabi.

But in Japan, dinner at the local sushi bar isn't limited to the traditional seafood fare. It can include raw meats such as deer, horse, whale, pork, and chicken.

I consider myself a sushi lover - but raw chicken or pork? Had anyone there heard of salmonella or trichinosis?

Tokyo-based food writer Lauren Shannon tried to convince me that these dishes were healthy delicacies. The preparation is meticulous. The chicken meat is cut from organic birds and eaten within two days. Pork and venison can be chilled and eaten over five days but the meat is choice cut and the industry highly regulated.

So how does it taste?

The deer is light and elegant. The raw pork, cut from the pig's belly, reminded me of bacon. The chicken sashimi is tender and -- er -- tastes like chicken. I was less of a fan of the whale sashimi. Politics aside, the meat is chewy with a strong game flavor and is often eaten with a slice of raw blubber. (Not my cup of tea.)

Yet, for the most part, I enjoyed my meat sashimi. And I'm still around to tell you about it.

From Eunice Yoon, CNN International Asia Business Editor

Watch my report
Eunice:
Sashimi sounds delicious! I too love sushi, but trying uncooked pork or chicken in the states would be like playing Russian roulette with your health.
When I was there a few weeks ago, I tried raw horse meat, which was actually pretty good. It basically tasted like a select cut of steak, just raw.
very interesting report. yeah, i wouldn't trust any chef (sushi aside) serving raw chicken or pork in the states. even in japan, sounds scary.
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