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I`m sure most of you have seen bonito flakes even though you might not know what they are.
If you`ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you`ll notice that some food items have these thin pinkish flakes dancing around on the food. They`re bonito flakes =) They`re so light that when a bit of air hits it, they move.
Bonito flakes are derived from a native fish in Japan. These flakes help flavor dashi (fish broth stock) as well as miso soup. If you`ve tried ramen or udon, most likely, you`ve had bonito.
The bonito fish is basically prepared like any other fish and then left to ferment inside a wooden plank. It takes about a good 6 months to 1 year to ferment the fish. Once fermented, the fish is shaved thinly using a specialty shaver. I would imagine that it`s similar to the paper cutters we have or mandolins.
Once that`s done, they`re packaged and sent out to restaurants and grocery stores.
This small bag cost me $5.99 but its worth it. You just put a bit of the shavings on food and they taste amazing, especially on rice!
They`re most common on takoyaki and okonomiyaki or even sushi sometimes.
*photo is mine*