Japanese Umeboshi Review
One fine day, the Wonect boss says to us, “Let’s try umeboshi!” And our Taiwan colleague says, “No way. I’ll hate the taste.” Thus the Snack Review Series was born.
Hi everyone! Wonect to going down the slippery slope of food tasting in Japan. We all know that Japan, in all its creativity, has continually invent and combine various snacks and flavours to appeal to consumers’ taste. So, we grabbed whoever is non-Japanese in the office (I volunteered!) to do a taste test of these snacks.
What is Umeboshi?
It seemed rather apt that we are starting this series with umeboshi. Mizuguchi (our boss) says that it is a traditional food in Japan. There is a variety of tastes, ranging from very sweet to very sour. It is created by putting salt and umeboshi into a jar, and the longer it is made, the tastier it gets, and the more expensive it becomes. One can even reach prices of over 10,000 yen per piece! Well… we could only get the 10 yen per piece.
Leading the lambs to sacrifice the taste test is… me! I had doubts about the taste, because I remembered drinking an umeboshi drink from about 10 years ago. I was in Asakusa, Tokyo in the cold, and I bought this particular hot drink to warm my body. One sip and I almost hurled my organs out. I believe I described it as “drinking water that has been squeezed out of somebody’s smelly socks”.
Wulan shared my sentiments too, though her experience was in the umeboshi potato chips.
The Tasting – Roger from Singapore
Lifting the cap of the bottle of umeboshi revealed a scent that is quite strong, hinting strongly without a doubt that it was going to be sour. Picking one in a tiny toothpick, a realisation washed over me: there was no way I can just take a small bite. So in the whole umeboshi goes.
The umeboshi was sour, that was expected. What was surprising for me was how the the sourness came in waves. It wasn’t a one-time sourness that persisted in my mouth, but a sourness that kept on attacking. But it was a good kind of attack, because it was tasty and juicy, and a sourness that can get a person hooked if it is to the person’s liking.
My vote: one thumbs up, one thumbs down.
Next taster – Wulan from Indonesia
Wulan calmly took out a pair of chopsticks to ready herself, then gave a really sour look. She was tasting the umeboshi even before even tasting it! There was uncertainty about the scent, but she commented how she couldn’t understand why this would go well with onigiri (rice balls). She popped one into her mouth.
A few quiet moments passed… and she seemed fine with the taste! “Juicy!” was the first word that came out of her mouth. It would seem that she has taken a liking to umeboshi!
Wulan’s vote: two thumbs up. Final comment: “I still don’t think it goes well with onigiri.”
Third taster – Ho from Taiwan
Clutching a coke bottle in her hand, there was a strong reluctance as Ho approached the table. She exclaimed, “I hate sour stuff!” “I SEE! But you can’t run,” was the only reply she got.
Ho brought the umeboshi close to her mouth, but the scent alone was enough to turn her away. Nevertheless, in good spirit of the taste test, she took the courage to take a bite…
… to immediate convulsion to spit it out! I was too much for her, as she removed it with a tissue, and proceeded to wash her mouth with the readied cola.
Ho’s vote: two thumbs down. Final comment: “MAZUI! (Disgusting!)”
Seeing how there is a tie for between likes and dislikes, the umeboshi is going to be an acquired taste. Umeboshi can be found some meals, so there is a good chance that you will try it someday. So keep an open mind when you do try it. Nothing quite like a gamble an experience to try one of Japane’s traditional food! Just… keep a bottle of cola near you, maybe?
|..:: Visit us @ WONECT.COM ::..|