Japan from the inside out

Shark dogs in Hiroshima

Posted by ampontan on Saturday, July 5, 2008

IF YOU KNEW how hot dogs were made, the saying goes, you probably wouldn’t want to eat one.

I wonder if the same could be said about shark dogs?

If you happen to be in Shobara, Hiroshima, here’s your big chance to find out. Tonight’s the night of the Yukata de Iko! Rakushoza Tanabata Matsuri, a local commercial festival. This matsuri isn’t a Shinto-related traditional festival, but what is often called a night market. Establishments in a commercial district stay open later to offer discount prices on their merchandise, usually displaying their products outside in front of the store. There’s also sure to be temporary stalls selling food and drink, as well as local entertainment.

It’s not easy to come up with a snappy translation of the festival name, but it’s an invitation to celebrate Tanabata by wearing a yukata and going to the Rakushoza, a restored building in Shobara. (Here’s their Japanese site.)

As part of the event, Sakura Puranningu, a group consisting of local citizens and students at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima, will have a stall offering wani wani dogu for sale. Wani in the local dialect is the term for shark, which is often eaten in the northern part of the prefecture.

The wani wani dogu contains fried shark and cabbage on a hot dog bun. Seafood gourmands will have their choice of two types: one with ginger and soy sauce, shown on the left, and one with tartar sauce, shown on the right. Sakura Puranningu plans to use an award-winning shark recipe from a competition it held last year to encourage new ideas for special area products.

They hope to sell 100 at 300 yen apiece (now about US$ 2.80). Think they’ll sell out?

If shark-eating whets your appetite, here’s a previous post about the dish on the New Year’s Day menu in Hiroshima, and here’s a post about a young Nagasaki entrepreneur who came out with a shark jerky product a couple of years ago.

While you’re at it, try this festival post with some Tanabata info. And if you’re looking for something easy on the eye, there’s nothing easier than Japanese women wearing yukata in the summer!

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