This weekend I finally visited a small restaurant in my village that I've been meaning to since last year! Infact I can't believe I haven't before, seeing as I drive past it almost every time I go out. One of our block's newbies, Jake, came for the experience too.
We both opted for the 猪手食 (inoshishi teshoku; the wild boar meal set), which consisted of yaki-style wild boar meat and vegetables, plus rice, konnyaku (a jelly-like snack made from processed fish), miso soup, 漬物 (pickles) and fresh orange. It was the first time I'd tried wild boar and I found it juicy and tender, and the price of the teshoku, really cheap.
There are four items on the menu that I'm aiming to try, wild boar being the first. The others are 松茸 (matsutake; pine mushroom, an expensive delicacy available almost exclusively in Autumn), 熊 (shika; deer) and 鹿 (kuma; bear).
Matsutake - 松茸
To give you an idea of what these mushrooms can cost, the Principal of one of my elementary schools managed to find a crop of them out in a local forest (they are very hard to find) and brought them into school about ten days ago. He had between twenty and thirty of them, all of which fit on a standard newspaper page. I asked him what that would fetch in a shop and he told me the minimum would be 5 or 6万円 (£400+). He laughed when my jaw dropped.
Yesterday a local salesman came into my Junior High to sell punnets of these mushrooms. Each punnet had between one and three mushrooms in it, depending on their size, and each punnet was at least £10-15! That had better be a tasty mushroom!