Chicken Sashimi: The Next Fad for Foodies?

Food Lovers — By Samya Sattar on September 21, 2009 at 10:40 am

Foodies like to pride themselves on being adventurous eaters. They aim to be worldly and try exotic new foods and like them. And if these foods are considered unpalatable by common folk, then all the better. Offal – what used to be considered the waste parts of a butchered animal – is now a delicacy served in many fine restaurants. If you ask a foodie if he or she would eat tripe (stomach), sweetbreads (thymus gland or pancreas), or bone marrow, the foodie will smile at you with a sympathetic look, and say something like “oh yes, but I’m very particular, I like my bone marrow on toasted Acme bread only” or “I prefer my veal sweetbreads fried in luscious duck fat.”

What’s the next fad going to be? Is there anything left that the most adventurous foodie won’t go near? There might be one thing that at least American foodies are still afraid of. Raw chicken. Foodies are human after all, and salmonella is still a problem in the United States.

But in Japan, chicken yakitori (grilled skewered chicken) joints are immensely popular, and a lot of them serve rare chicken or even chicken sashimi – raw chicken! Anthony Bourdain visits one of these yakitori joints on the Tokyo episode of his show No Reservations, and enjoys chicken skin, chicken spleen, chicken meat that’s browned outside but rare inside, and even chicken sashimi, all with a nice, cold beer. Apparently, the chicken is very fresh and has just been killed. As you can tell from the photo above, It looks almost like fish sashimi. In Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia where chicken isn’t mass-produced like it is in the States, salmonella doesn’t rear its ugly head as often. In Tokyo and Kyoto, you can also get grilled chicken cartilage, chicken uterus, chicken neck, and a variety of other chicken parts, often served up with a perfect orb-like raw egg yolk.

Yakitori Chicken Uterus with Egg

Yakitori Totto in New York sometimes has more unusual chicken items on the menu, but actual raw or even rare chicken is rare (pun intended) in the States.

Are American foodies ready for raw chicken? Only time (and chicken farming practices) will tell.

[Photos: Chicken sashimi by kentaro; Yakitori chicken by Stewart; Both Creative Commons]

Tags: Anthony Bourdain, chicken sashimi, chicken yakitori, foodies, Japan, kyoto, New York, no reservations, Tokyo, yakitori totto


  • Victoria says:

    Chicken sashimi… yikes. I like to pride myself on trying to eat ANYTHING once, but this might take it too far. It’d take one heck of a glorious, grass-fed bird for me to try it raw. I can’t imagine the texture being anywhere near appetizing.

  • Christine Gilbert says:

    Gross! I love sashimi but the ick factor on raw chicken would ruin it for me. MAYBE with a TON of wasabi.

  • Samya says:

    What if it’s sliced really thin and doesn’t smell funny? Probably tastes like chicken.

  • Alona says:

    I could maybe try the tiniest freshest slice ever, just to try. And it better not smell funny! I am gagging just looking at the photo of those full size chicken sashimi pieces. What about chicken tartare – anyone serving that these days? I could see it happen, especially in the Bay Area.

    My mom used to cook the chicken neck in her chicken adobo – I always wanted the neck!

  • Car Hire Nice says:

    I don’t think chicken could be eaten raw. It could pose some serious health treats such as salmonella and other food borne illnesses.

  • Dave says:

    Finger-lickin’ goodness!

  • Mark says:

    The Japanese are clean, sensible people. If I walked into that restaurant and saw other people eating chicken sashini, I would want to try it to.

  • Casi Contreras says:

    I saw this episode of No Reservations. Some of the sushi he ate looked amazing! I was jealous! But not when it came to the chicken sashimi! I don’t know if I could eat that!

  • Zanni says:

    Yucky, icky, gross. I love to eat adventurously but that said, there is no way raw chicken will ever pass these lips. I mean the smell of raw chicken alone makes me want to vom.

    Of course if I was paid and on TV like Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern I guess I could muster up the courage to eat it. Hmmm…I am looking for a new job. Anyone want to pay me to eat weird things?

  • amy says:

    I also saw that No Reservations and didn’t eat chicken for a week afterwards! Not sure I could do it no matter how fresh. I just read a USDA announcement that said they’re happy to report that only 2/3 of all chicken tested POSITIVE for salmonella bacteria. (down from 80% last year)

  • anne says:

    Wouldn’t try it in the states, but have eaten it a few times in Japan and it’s not half-bad…and yet, I don’t really crave it ever!


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