Chicken sashimi – Kagoshima, Japan

Yes, this is raw chicken on a plate.

Here a sampling of the reactions I received on Facebook:

  • “Umm, no.”
  • “They’re doing chicken tartare here in SF now. I just don’t think that’s a bandwagon I can get on.”
  • “Seems like a bad idea. And I’ll eat almost anything.”
  • “Did it taste…like chicken?”
  • “Hmmmm, can anyone say Salmonella?”
  • “Is it a kosher chicken, at least?”

Americans are universally grossed out (at best) by the very thought of eating raw chicken, while Japanese typically have no problem it. Everyone knows fish sashimi, but especially in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima there’s raw jidori (local chicken), basashi (horsemeat sashimi), kurobuta sashimi (raw local black pork) and raw beef comes from the Korean influence here. 

About the salmonella: amazingly, it’s not really something you hear of in Japan. Chickens are raised in much more sanitary/less industrial conditions than in the US, and apparently they’re fed a diet of sea greens which just hast to be healthy. Japan has a long tradition of eating raw eggs (as in with sukiyaki).

Did I like it? No way. But as I responded on Facebook:  “I was raised to taste the food I was served before deciding I don’t like it.”

To which a cousin commented: “Good parenting can come back to haunt you.”