A specter is haunting Japanese snackfoods—the specter of dried pickled plums.
When you want a snack in Japan, traditionally what you eat is a thing called an onigiri, a lightly salted ball of rice. Though not as international famous as sushi or pocky, the onigiri is—as much as a foodstuff can be—ubiquitous in Japanese culture. You see them in anime. You see them in Japanese movies. You read about them in Japanese books. They’re like the Japanese equivalent of the potato chip, the go-to starchy snack.
Onigiri, however, aren’t just rice—that would be too bland even for Japan—but rice is either stuffed or wrapped with a secondary ingredient or two to add flavor . One of the things some people like to stuff an onigiri with is umeboshi. An umeboshi is a Japanese salt plum (which is really more like an apricot than a plum) that’s been dried in the sun and then pickled. They’re extremely sour. They’re extremely salty. A lot of Japanese people really love them both as a delicacy on their own and as an onigiri stuffer. (more…)Keep Reading