Japanese Fish Now Comes in Cube Form, Too

Nationwide Food Fish 2021.07.28
From the land of fresh fish sashimi, one supermarket is going in the opposite direction with their perfectly rectangular “cube fish.”
A new supermarket staple, or just another Japanese food trend? That's the question when it comes to this new product recently released by major Japanese supermarket chain Aeon. These little squares of fish weigh come in pouches of 12 cubes, weighing 15 grams each, and they're being advertised as the easy route to fast, convenient cooking. Compared to the preparation required with a normal fish filet, these little chunks are easy to handle, and there's leftover food waste to deal with either. The product name literally translates to something along the lines of "Quick Prep Fish Dish" (パパッとできるお魚おかず).
So, how do they make such cute little cubes of raw fish? Well, the process starts with pressing fish scraps and leftover cuts into huge blocks of fish meat, before cutting them down to size. But they claim that the blocks are formed entirely using pressure, without any kind of binder or "meat glue," sometimes reviled by chefs.
Since the bones are removed during the manufacturing process and no meat prep to be done at home, there's no denying that the cubes could simplify the process of cooking with fish. They say there's no need to defrost the fish, and the pieces even come coated in a layer of starch, making them easy to use in all kinds of dishes. The five varieties (salmon, mackerel, horse mackerel, cod, yellowtail) are priced at a little under 400 yen a bag, which some consumers are calling expensive, but as is abundantly clear with the rise of recipe/ingredient subscription services all over the world in recent years, sometimes we're willing to pay a little more to make home cooking convenient.
Japan is known for quirky inventions and surprisingly convenient inovation, and this cubed-food is just one in a wave of cube-shaped food products sold around the country, all meant to make food convenient. Easy to carry and easy to store cubes of soup seasoning and even formula for babies have become commonplace, so it's not hard to imagine cubes of fish becoming the next kind of everyday cube. Whether it will stick around long-term, we'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime we're excited to find out which food staple will become cube-shaped next!

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