There is a place called the Izu Peninsula between Tokyo and Kyoto.
The Izu Peninsula is a peninsula surrounded by the sea, and it has many food cultures related to fish. Today, I will introduce one of them.
“Oboro” or “Soboro”
“Oboro” refers to minced fish meat seasoned with soy sauce and sugar, giving it a sweet and savory flavor.
Generally, in Japan, minced fish meat prepared in this way is widely known as “denbu.” However, in Ito, located in the Izu Peninsula, it has been called “Oboro” or “Soboro” since ancient times.
During the 1960s to 1970s, when distribution wasn’t as advanced as it is now, fish was frequently served on the dinner table in Izu.
There were times when an overabundance of fish would be shared, and even the red snapper, which has now become a high-end fish, would appear as a side dish for dinner so often that as a child born in 1970, I would sigh and say, “Red snapper again today…” It was that common.
In such a town, housewives often made “oboro” with fish that couldn’t be consumed in time. It was one way of preserving the fish.
It can be made with any kind of fish, but each region has its own unique twist. Places like Usami and Ito had a lot of “mackerel oboro.”
Although this tradition has mostly disappeared now, whenever you come across “Oboro,” it reminds me of my grandmother simmering it on the stove.
It’s not remarkably delicious, but for people from Izu, it’s soul food. Please try it if you come across it.