Shirasu/Japanese Anchovy Whitebait
Shirasu/シラス in Japanese means “whitebait”, although it normally applies only to the Japanese Anchovy/Katakuchiiwashi/片口鰯 (Engraulis japonica ).
It is found in many parts of Japan, but Mochimune Harbour in Shizuoka City puts the largest catch on markets in Japan.
The season lasts from May to the Fall.
Today, as I visited the town on my way to the beach to eat my bento in the Missus’ company, I noticed local fishermen drying the fish.
They kindly explained that any shirasu that was not sold or boiled raw immediately after their arrival at the harbour would be first steamed then sun-dried before further process. Such process includes further oven-drying them and pressing into thin sheets, or adding them to various fish mixtures.
Now, if you can’t find them raw, but still discover them freshly boiled, choose the best: some of the packaged fish should have a pink spot on their belly!