這兩篇相距7月 貼在兩不同的blogs"品質百科"的英文 不知怎麼 當時許多字眼都黏住 現在必須弄開
Time to rethink our cool response to 'namako'
The Spratly Islands in the South China Sea have a long history of territorial disputes, with China, Vietnam and others laying claim to them. I heard that China will never give up the islands because they are home to birds called swiftlets, whose nests are considered a great delicacy.
Of course I can not confirm this opinion. But it may be plausible that China values some delicacy more than the seabed resources around the islands due to the Chinese people's passion for food. As the old joke goes, a table is about the only four-legged thing that Chinese people wouldn't eat, and that they would eat anything that flies, except a plane.
The latest object of Chinese culinary obsession is said to be namako, or sea cucumber imported from Japan. At a well-known restaurant in Beijing, for instance, a popular dish is braised namako, seasoned liberally with green onions and aromatic herbs.
A colleague of mine, a specialist on Chinese matters, tells me this restaurant has its namako offerings on display, sorted by origin and grade, for patrons to choose from. The spot of honor is reserved for expensive, top-grade imports from Japan, and all well-heeled patrons are said to order these.
These sea creatures are decidedly not a pretty sight. But as they are believed to be good for the stamina and as a beauty aid, people are apparently willing to fork over a pretty penny for them.
Sea cucumbers are also expensive. The prices of Japanese exports in dehydrated form are said to have soared fivefold in the last five years.
Poachers are reportedly scrambling for their share. This has made overfishing a real concern, as not much is known about the ecology of namako.
The novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) once wrote of this low-profile, unassuming creature: "What is it/ That makes namako shrink in modesty?"
In Japan, namako is usually relegated to the status of a side-dish ingredient. Su-namako (namako soaked in vinegar) is sliced raw namako served with sweet vinegar. Konowata is salted and fermented namako intestines.
For Japanese fans of namako, the latter's spectacular rise to stardom in China must be somewhat bittersweet.
The best season for enjoying namako is winter. "Honcho Shokkan," a food encyclopedia of sorts published in 17th-century Japan, extols namako as "a very cool, clean and subtly beautiful thing, the finest food to eat."
Some people cannot bear to stomach namako, but maybe it's time to give it a try.
--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 30(IHT/Asahi: August 31,2007)
high-light this word : namako
cucumber 黃瓜，胡瓜(━━n. キュウリ.)(as) cool as a cucumber 落着き払って,冷静に.
dried sea cucumber 海參乾
sea cucumber，sea slug，trepang 海參；海噀
Sea cucumber boom threatens stock / Popularity in China drives prices,thefts
The price of domestic sea cucumbers is soaring due to rising exports to China, where the popularity of the delicacy is growing.
Dried black sea cucumbers are particularly popular in China as a premium food. The fondness for the product has pushed up exports by several billion yena year, giving it the nickname "the black diamond of the sea."
Although the boom offers momentum for the fishing industry, some are concerned over a decline in stock due to large catches and smuggling.
"There are some big ones are in today's catch," an upbeat fisherman saidrecently at Shinyasuura Port in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
"Be careful, it's heavy," said another.
The sea cucumbers that arrived in the port are weighed and boxed quickly by the fisheries cooperative employees.
"I caught 80 kilograms of sea cucumbers in 90 minutes," said a beamingTatsuo Watanabe, 30.
Shipments of black sea cucumbers from the port began in 2003.
Black sea cucumbers used to be unpopular as a raw dish and ones caught innets were often thrown away. But now they are a leading marine product. Whereas black sea cucumbers previously fetched about 300 yen per kilogram, as of January they have been going for about 900 yen per kilogram.
Export statistics on sea cucumbers and related products first appeared inthe Finance Ministry's data in 2004.
Export volume of sea cucumbers reached 222 tons in 2004, and rose to 230 tons in 2005 and 245 tons up to November 2006. The export value rose from 5.4 billion yen in 2004, to 7.8 billion yen in 2005, and jumped to 10.9 billion yen up to November 2006. The expansion in trade is unusual for a marine product.
Ninety percent of the exports are shipped to China and Taiwan.
Dried sea cucumbers are a premium delicacy in China comparable to shark fins and sparrow nests. Demand is rising from increased procurement due to the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and the rise in consumption of luxury foods among the rich, said Masaru Uehara, 51, a managing director of Wan Fu Lin Co.,a food wholesaler in Yokohama's China Town.
Particularly popular are sea cucumbers with long fat projections on the body, which are commonly found in a variety from Hokkaido.
Sea cucumbers, called hai shen in Chinese, are an important ingredient inChinese herbal medicine.
Some companies are stocking black sea cucumbers on speculative buying, whichis spurring the price surge.
Meanwhile, instances of smuggling and theft of sea cucumbers also are increasing.
Last year, the Japan Coast Guard apprehended four fishing groups from EhimePrefecture, off Muroran and Date, Hokkaido. In May, executives from a fisheries cooperative in Chiba Prefecture were arrested off Yokohama in Tokyo Bay for smuggling.
Four men broke into a sea cucumber drying facility in Morimachi, Hokkaido,in December, tied up factory employees, and stole about 160 kilograms of sea cucumbers being dried.
Fully dried sea cucumbers can fetch more than 70,000 yen per kilogram.
Aomori Prefectural Fisheries Research Center Aquaculture Institute in Hiranaimachi, Aomori Prefecture, which is studying artificial incubation of seacucumbers, receives many inquiries from companies in the prefecture on building breeding facilities.
"If this trend continues, we could run out of natural sea cucumbers," an official at the institute said.
"Sea cucumbers do not breed easily, so they could become extinct if the boom continues," said Assistant Prof. Seiichi Okumura of Kitasato University's School of Fisheries.