UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
My dear childhood friend M (who would like to remain nameless) lives in LA where she is frolicking with cute boys and eating, get this, WHALE. Listen in on this top secret conversation (where she reveals nothing- I tried SO HARD to get stuff out of her but her lips were totes sealed!!).


11:40 PM me: darling

M: hey

me: hi sweetie

what have you been eating lately?

M: indian

me: give me some highlights from LA

11:41 PM M: i've been eating japanese too!

i had whale (BUT huge secret, ok?)

me: ha

where did you have whale in LA?

11:42 PM that's CRAZY


M: I know!!

next time, I will take you there

it's top secret

me: like how top secret

like it's illegal top secret?

11:43 PM M: no my two friends will kill me if it gets out

they like that its quiet and unknown

me: ha

ok

but are you legally allowed to serve whale in this country?

11:44 PM M: i don't know

probably not

me: oh geez

this is intense!

how was it served?

raw?

like sashimi style?

M: yes

11:45 PM it tasted more like meat, then fish

me: hm

interesting

M: b/c whales are mammals

i guess

me: ah so not even marinated?



like straight raw?

11:46 PM M: oui

yes

there was soy sauce

i think there was shaved ginger

me: would you eat it again?

M: garlic

me: ah

M: no

i felt guilty

me: yeah totes adventurous of you

M: i know

my guy friends are corrupting me

11:47 PM three specifically

me: oohhh hot dates?

i'm liking that you are going out with them all at once

like why even pretend?

M: haha

i'm VERY social lately

it's fun

i'm not dating all three

11:48 PM just one

sort of

not really

me: NICE nothing like whale to bring you two together

prolly an aphrodisiac of some sort, right?
M: he wasn't there for the whale, but he has taken me to another cool japanese place

11:49 PM called sansui in los feliz

me: way to get yourself out thereso what about this sansui place?

11:50 PM

M: in los feliz, run by japanese

yummy

lots

me: that's not the whale place, is it?

M: of small dishes

11:51 PM no

whale place is in BLEEPBLEEP (M forced me to take this out)


me: i love that you're refusing to tell me where this place is!

ha

11:52 PM did you take any pics of the whale by chance?

M: no i did not.

they would never let me

me: ha

dude this is so covert!
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7 comments

  • Hi Aphriza,
    Thanks for your comment- I was just having a heated discussion with my friend online about this issue myself.

    Would you mind elaborating a little bit on your thoughts about the issue? Seems like you know quite a lot about whales, and sealife in general according to your blog.

    I admit I’m quite ignorant about the subject. I do think that eating whale is whacky from an American point of view, but it is considered a delicacy in Japan. This is not an excuse, but from a cultural standpoint, this is how it is.

    Could you shed some light on the subject of whale, and why they should not be eaten? I would appreciate some awareness on this subject.

    Thanks.

    kayoko on

  • Hi. Your blog is amusing and you sound like a great cook. But I think somebody needs to remind your friend that it is absolutely not OK to eat or to condone eating whales.

    aphriza on

  • Woah, whale talk. Love it. I had some at a rooftop BBQ last year. I have to admit it was delicious. But, I probably won’t have it again. There is too much stigma and I’d rather just avoid it. I pretty much got shit from everybody and I’d rather spend my time arguing about other things.

    Anyway, I’d rather eat 15 fish embryos in one bite (ikura). Much more efficient, being the killing machine that I am.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I won’t give anyone shit for eating whales. I advocate freedom for foodies – all the way.

    yoko on

  • oooh I’ve had whale before at Morimoto’s chef table in NY. It had about an inch of blubber on it which was strange. I remember liking it though!

    eat me outta here! on

  • Hi Kayoko,
    Thanks for asking. Basically, whales are still reeling from the effects of us catching them by the tens of thousands during the heyday of whaling. Whales have kids only every few years, so it takes a long time for their populations to recover.

    Pretty much every species of large whale on the planet is still listed as endangered. (Search the IUCN Red List for details) For the same reason, I can’t imagine that selling whale meat in the U.S. could be legal. It’s a violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (commonly called CITES).

    As for the humanitarian side of the argument – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale up close. They’re graceful, improbable, deliberate, bewilderingly massive; they’re smart, they live longer than many people, they have memories, they talk to each other.

    I’m no animal rights activist and I acknowledge there is some sliding scale of what kinds of animals people are comfortable with eating. (I’m a total foodie and my favorite meals involve pork – I have a chile relleno recipe that will blow your mind) But whales are way over at the far end of that scale, somewhere next to elephants or apes.

    Some countries, notably Japan, Iceland, and Norway, argue that whaling is part of their culture. I wouldn’t want to order other countries around, but all cultures discard some of their traditions as they prove to be antiquated, and I wish whale meat could be one of those. For the rest of us, it just doesn’t seem right to silence a 70-ton, 50-year-old animal just to sample a 2 oz piece of its flesh on a dare.

    aphriza on

  • Dude whale at a bbq! That’s so nutty!

    I’ve never had it myself, but nearly all my Japanese colleagues I’ve asked have had it at some point in Japan, and didn’t flinch for a second when I asked them about it. Fumi even had it at the lunchtime cafeteria in grade school. CRAZY!

    But I did talk to my friend last night who is here visiting from Japan, that it is also becoming taboo to eat whale, at least amongst young people, in Japan. Is this true Yoko? Would you say that your bbq was quite a rarity?

    So since Eat Me Outta Here had it at Morimoto, I’m assuming it’s LEGAL to eat it in the states?

    This has brought up a lot of issues that i didn’t really think about before- ethics, environmentalism, culture gaps. I think this is great that all this is being discussed.

    kayoko on

  • Aphriza,
    Thanks for all the insight. Very informational, all points well made. I think that at the end of the day, it’s about perspective and awareness (or lack thereof)- I mean, when I was having this conversation about eating whale with my friend M, I really didn’t think it was that big a deal, only because I do come from a background where it is condoned.

    That said, I think that “culture” as a lame excuse for fishing whales. That’s just blind pride, which I think is detrimental to the culture itself.

    Aphriza, I think we all have a crush on you now. Please send over that chili relleno recipe and blow our minds.

    kayoko on

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