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Japanese Bluegill Burger Bonanza

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December 14, 2007

Japanese Bluegill Burger Bonanza

By Tim Romano & Kirk Deeter

Bluegillburger

Japan has a fishy problem - as if we didn't know...

The lakes of Japan are being overrun with bluegills. Given to the emperor almost 50 years ago as a present by mayor Daley of Chicago - the fish was expected to be a raised as food for the Japanese. Turns out the people of Japan didn't take to the fish, which is strange as they seem to eat almost every other kind of creature with gills. The Japanese government has prohibited selling or breeding the fish since 2005 and is trying to solve the problem as they are overtaking local populations of indigenous fish. The university in Fukui has come up with a solution--bluegill burgers. They'll start selling them in December at their local co-op. Another firm is trying a combination of salting the fish with rice and letting them ferment for three years. Yum.

For more info visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,,2217425,00.html

TR

Comments (6)

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from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

One more by the way: I remember taking bluegills (and sunfish, pumpkinseeds, etc.) on light equipment, including a fly rod and small 'poppers' and flies. For its weight, you would be hard-pressed to find a fish that outfights the bluegill.

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from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

One interesting note on cultural differences and eating habits for freshwater fish. Now in the US, especially in the South, I have eaten catfish many times. (I believe these are usually farmed channel cats, not the bullheads). But I don't know any Japanese who have eaten this sort of fish (and the lower rivers have several species that are very similar to the channel cat). On the other hand, coming from the very same waters, many Japanese love to eat eel, especially in mid-to-late summer. They way they do it here, it is very tasty. But most Americans I know have never eaten the eel taken from rivers. (But one note, since demand in Japan exceeds supply, Japan imports farmed eel from Taiwan and China.)

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from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

I'm going to follow up on this and visit the co-op and the professor who came up with the bluegill-bass eco-burger and see how many he sold. I'm betting zero. It's a hard sell when the cafeteria here sells delicious fried mackeral filets. Will let you know.

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from tim Romano wrote 6 years 17 weeks ago

Charles,I agree that the bluegill isn't popular here in the US as a normal food staple, but I will say that every once in a while in the summer I keep a few and fry them in butter. They're not so bad... I also agree that I'd much rather be eating some Toro, then a bluegill from a nasty pond.

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from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 18 weeks ago

The Guardian article, which largely recaps the info. available in Japanese newspaper (no surprise there) doesn't say Fukui University. But the Yomiuri report does.I noticed a sign up on the wall of the Fukui University co-op (I teach at the place).I highly doubt the bluegill is as popular in the US as Dave Spector says. And the reason it doesn't catch on in Japan is that most Japanese don't eat much freshwater fish, especially ones from stagnant water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 18 weeks ago

The Guardian article, which largely recaps the info. available in Japanese newspaper (no surprise there) doesn't say Fukui University. But the Yomiuri report does.I noticed a sign up on the wall of the Fukui University co-op (I teach at the place).I highly doubt the bluegill is as popular in the US as Dave Spector says. And the reason it doesn't catch on in Japan is that most Japanese don't eat much freshwater fish, especially ones from stagnant water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

One more by the way: I remember taking bluegills (and sunfish, pumpkinseeds, etc.) on light equipment, including a fly rod and small 'poppers' and flies. For its weight, you would be hard-pressed to find a fish that outfights the bluegill.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

One interesting note on cultural differences and eating habits for freshwater fish. Now in the US, especially in the South, I have eaten catfish many times. (I believe these are usually farmed channel cats, not the bullheads). But I don't know any Japanese who have eaten this sort of fish (and the lower rivers have several species that are very similar to the channel cat). On the other hand, coming from the very same waters, many Japanese love to eat eel, especially in mid-to-late summer. They way they do it here, it is very tasty. But most Americans I know have never eaten the eel taken from rivers. (But one note, since demand in Japan exceeds supply, Japan imports farmed eel from Taiwan and China.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 14 weeks ago

I'm going to follow up on this and visit the co-op and the professor who came up with the bluegill-bass eco-burger and see how many he sold. I'm betting zero. It's a hard sell when the cafeteria here sells delicious fried mackeral filets. Will let you know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tim Romano wrote 6 years 17 weeks ago

Charles,I agree that the bluegill isn't popular here in the US as a normal food staple, but I will say that every once in a while in the summer I keep a few and fry them in butter. They're not so bad... I also agree that I'd much rather be eating some Toro, then a bluegill from a nasty pond.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 18 weeks ago

The Guardian article, which largely recaps the info. available in Japanese newspaper (no surprise there) doesn't say Fukui University. But the Yomiuri report does.I noticed a sign up on the wall of the Fukui University co-op (I teach at the place).I highly doubt the bluegill is as popular in the US as Dave Spector says. And the reason it doesn't catch on in Japan is that most Japanese don't eat much freshwater fish, especially ones from stagnant water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charles Jannuzi wrote 6 years 18 weeks ago

The Guardian article, which largely recaps the info. available in Japanese newspaper (no surprise there) doesn't say Fukui University. But the Yomiuri report does.I noticed a sign up on the wall of the Fukui University co-op (I teach at the place).I highly doubt the bluegill is as popular in the US as Dave Spector says. And the reason it doesn't catch on in Japan is that most Japanese don't eat much freshwater fish, especially ones from stagnant water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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