Cherry blossom sushi

Part of me is adamantly vegetarian. It insists eating animals is unethical and unhealthy. Another part of me, which controls the movement of my mouth, wants everything on the menu quickly, in great quantities and with no arguments. The greedy part always triumphs, sometimes with bizarre consequences.

Last night, I went to Musashi, a busy conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the heart of Kyoto. Sitting at the counter upstairs, we could see one dish looked different from all raw fish dishes. It was called sakura, which means cherry blossom, yet it looked like a slice of raw beefsteak alongside a strip of butter.

Supposedly, the dish is called sakura because it`s dark red flesh is similar in colour to pink cherry blossoms. That reasoning probably makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

A plate of sakura drifts by at Musashi, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Kyoto.

Whatever the case, sakura sounds much better than basashi raw horse – the real topping on the sushi. Raw horse is a traditional food in Nagano and Kumamoto, it`s not common, but it can be ordered online or found at select restaurants..

Out of curiosity and greed, I tried a couple of plates. The red flesh was juicy, chewy and tasted familiar. The yellow goo next to it was more of a challenge, it had the taste and texture of a butter and lard blend. I couldn`t work out what it was, so I asked the chef.

Tategami” (mane), he told me. I wasn`t spitting out hairs, so I can only assume the yellow goo was the fat under the horse`s mane. I suppose if you are going to eat horse, it makes sense to eat every edible part of it, but next time, I`ll just stick to fish. 

Grated ginger and leek on top, raw horse flesh on the left, mane on the right and vinegared rice underneath.

 
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