Chanko-Nabe Drops

Posted in 2.5 Wasabi Pea Rating, Hard Candy, Sweet at 12:49 am by Boo

Welcome to August, which happens to be the blogaversary month of the JSFR (seventh year if you were curious). I usually do some sort of “clever” (and by that I mean quasi thematic) JSFR Blogaversary celebratory thing for the whole month and every year I try to do something different. Ish. Sometimes it’s cool, other times…well the reviews go up and I usually do double weekend posting so there is that. This year I’ve decided to showcase a different Asian nation’s snacks every weekend. I thought it would be kinda cool to do a nation by nation thing and it necessitated a trip to My Second Favorite Asian Grocery Store. Win-Win!

I will start out with Japan, given I call this blog “The Japanese Snack Food Review”, and also I will finish up with the Food Drops. Yes Junkies, I am sad to say that the Food Drop era (from the great January J-listing of ’10) has come to a close. It also seems rather appropriate to kick off with Food Drops given the Food Drop fad that Japan is going through.

According to Wikipedia (today), Chanko-Nabe is a “one pot” dish eaten by Sumo wrestlers. Several sites (for I did a little research for y’all and went to more than just Wikipedia!) mention that there is no hard and fast recipe to Chanko-nabe other than meat, broth and vegetables. Chicken is mentioned quite often and so is fish…or basically anything to make the “stew” protein intensive.

These Food Drops picture a rather fish intensive looking pot of Chanko-Nabe (I can identify shrimp, some sort of fish chunk plus little balls of something or other which may also be fish. A couple different sites mentioned chucking fish balls into your sumo stew) and after the Pollock roe and mayonnaise…experience I was a little leery. However, this was the last Drop to review so I soldiered on. I also gave it to a couple Guinea Pigs because I definitely didn’t want to soldier on alone given the knowledge that the Japanese Mad Food Scientists have been nailing the flavors of these things pretty consistently.

I’m not sure if I am happy to report that they have done it again with their mad food science or if I am horrified. Perhaps ‘dreadful awe’ is a more apt description because if I were to wonder what that pot of stew on the tin tasted like if you had the notion to make it into a hard candy, it wouldn’t be long before I decided that the Food Drops are exactly that picture. Seriously, how to they do that? I taste fish and also sort of a sweet that makes me think lobster or shrimp (that may be the fish and the hard candy sweet together). There is also a vague toasted flavor that could be rice and a nice roundness which I’d peg as brothy.

One of my Pigs said that Chanko-Nabe drops were “very accurate” while another one had the disconcerting feeling that he should watch for bones while sucking on a drop. Of course the first Pig I mentioned also asked, “How many pea points is “I finished it, and I would eat it again on a bet, but have no real desire to ever put it in my mouth again”?” I can’t say the second Pig was any more enthusiastic although he did make the most interesting faces while trying the “fish don”.

I am astounded at how well these drops translated from dish to candy but I’m also not on board the fish candy train at all. I will say that they are better than the Pollock roe and mayonnaise but only because fishy stewy hard candy is just slightly more palatable than fishy creamy hard candy. For certain factors of Who in Their Right Mind Sits Around and Says ‘Eureka! Fish candy!’ palatable.

Rating of a tenuous 2.5 Wasabi Peas out of a possible 5.

1 Comment »

  1. Bubbles said,

    August 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Being a sumo nerd, I squeed a little when I saw the title. 🙂 But I’m sad I wasn’t one of your research sources. 🙁 But yeah, chanko-nabe is the stew sumo wrestlers eat, defined more by the cookers/eaters/environment than the actual ingredients.

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