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Issue: May 2008

TSUKUDANI: The Heart of Japanese Tradition

What is Tsukudani?

Tsukudani is a sweet-salty fish indispensable to the Japanese dinner table.The word “tsukudani” means fish cooked in
soy and sugar, and it’s a cooking method originated from the wisdom of fishermen who understood the nutritional
value of fish as well as needed a good way to preserve the fish they caught.
The history of tsukudani goes back to the Edo period, around 1600. Back in those days, small fish caught by fisher-
men were boiled with strong seasoning in order to preserve them. Over the years, traditional Japanese seasoning
like soy sauce and sugar were added to the recipe, as the taste needed adjustments to the changing times. Now, this
cooking method that was once merely just a way to preserve fish is an important part of Japanese cuisine.

Who is Hiramatsu Shokuhin?

Hiramatsu Shokuhin has been producing tsukudani in the city of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture since 1924. Toyohashi
itself set in a beautiful natural environment blessed with fruits from both the sea and the mountains, and having
crystal clean water, Hiramatsu strives each day to ensure that the time-honored food local to Toyohashi are adopted
to the needs of the new era, and keeping the tradition alive. Among the various different types of tsukudani, Hira-
matsu Shokuhin specializes in the production of Kanro-ni, a method that uses fresh fish as opposed to dried fish,
which requires meticulous attention to detail and highly skilled hands. The fish are first processed, and then boiled
with soy sauce and sugar, finished with a special sauce. Each of the process takes a few days. The end result of this
technique unique to Japan is the delicious mixture of flavors from the fish, and other ingredients. 85% of the fish
used are domestic.
Hiramatsu’s Method

Everything except for the steaming process at Hiramatsu is

done by hand, using the traditional method. Hiramatsu be-
lieves it is important to stick to the traditional way because
every detail is important in the process of making Tsukudani,
and only people can make the necessary adjustments. Bam-
boo and cotton and fishing nets are used during the steaming
process to ensure the shape to be intact.

Recognition and Nutritional Value

Hiramatsu Shokuhin’s efforts to constantly produce “high-

quality”, safe kanro-ni were recognized when Hiramatsu
Shokuhin became the first company in Japan to be awarded
the ISO9001 and ISO22000, backed by HACCP. Aichi Prefec-
ture is well known as a producing region, and the government
has reached an agreement with companies in the prefec-
ture to identify Aichi Prefecture-approved products as “Aichi
Brand Companies”.The high quality was honored at the 2005
World Food Competition held in Belgium where Hiramatsu
Shokuhin’s sanma kabayaki and iwashi kanro-ni were both
awarded gold prizes. The products were awarded the Gold
Prize at the 2006 Monde Selection for the second consecu-
tive year, proving that the products are growing to become
an international delicacy. At the same time, these products are
very healthy. 100g of iwashi kanro-ni, for instance has as much
calcium as .44 quarts, and 100g of sanma kabayaki has much
as calcium as .5quarts of milk.

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