Japanese Cuisine: Raw Eggs Everywhere

Raw yolk on yam

Raw yolk on chicken burger

There is an undeniable tendency to include raw eggs in Japanese cuisine. That tendency may get overlooked stateside as consumers shy away from tartar and harbor an unabated fear of salmonella.  But in Japan, raw is a norm. You will eat alot of raw eggs. If you have an egg on the menu, odds are, it’s not hard boiled (please feel free to imagine the disastrous chain of events that led to this conclusion – the messier your imagination, the more accurate the depiction). Raw eggs (or more specifically, the yolks) are available on seemingly everything. The most likely scenario is in a hot bowl of noodles. Just as likely is on a hot bowl of rice. Less frequently, but no less surprising, includes a raw yolk on a bowl of ground up yams, or resting on top of a chicken burger (to appropriately sauce it up). Not to suggest that a raw yolk is the most daring or most unusual item on any menu, but rather, the inclusion is worth noting because the commonplace nature of the yolk hints at the more daring culinary trappings of one of the world’s great cuisines. Keep a weathered eye on the horizon, because at every nook and cranny, next to that raw egg on the menu, you will find something else entirely, something imbued with inspiration, presented with flair and packed with flavor. Maybe it will have a raw egg on it.

Written by Jason Summerfield