Canned goods are perfect for souvenirs and presents because they go well with rice and alcohol, and they keep for a long time. Here are five of the famous canned goods in Japan.
1. Kantsuma Smoke Sake Harasu (Kokubu)
Smoke Sake Harasu (smoked salmon belly) is a canned good made by the leading Japanese manufacturer Kokubu under the Kantsuma series of canned goods that can be eaten straight from the can. With this canned good, the belly of the salmon, which has the most fat out of all the parts of the fish, is smoked using cherry blossom wood chips in order to seal its taste. The name Kantsuma comes from "kan" ("can") and "tsuma" ("tsumami," a snack eaten when one drinks liquor), and as such it is best served with liquor such as whisky. However, its salty taste also makes it go well with salads and other dishes. The Kantsuma series also offers a variety of flavors such as smoked scallops and oysters, so you might want to try these ones to accompany your drinks, too. Each can costs 400 JPY (excl. tax).
2. Sanma Kabayaki (Maruha Nichiro)
Sanma Kabayaki is canned sanma (saury) that has been dipped in a soy sauce-based sauce before broiling. This is one of the products in the Japanese menu series of Maruha Nichiro Foods, a leading manufacturer of canned and bottled seafood in Japan. Sanma kabayaki is made by cutting open a fat sanma and then thoroughly broiling it in a soy sauce-based sweet sauce. If you heat this sanma kabayaki, which is so soft that you can eat the bones of the fish, and eat it as a side dish, you will surely look for rice to go with it! Its deep flavor also makes it perfect as a snack to go with Japanese sake and shochu (Japanese white distilled liquor). Try the typical taste of Japanese home-cooked meals with this canned good. A can of Sanma Kabayaki costs 170 JPY (excl. tax).
3. Chicken Thai Curry – Yellow (Inaba Foods)
This canned item contains Thai yellow curry with diced chicken, complete with the real fragrance of coconut milk. There are different colors of pre-made and canned curries, but the uniqueness and tastiness of authentic Thai curry has become a hot topic in Japan, leading to it being such a popular product that for a while it was constantly sold out. This product will let you enjoy the unique spiciness and flavors of Thai curry in a can. Its manufacturer, Inaba Foods, also sells other curries aside from yellow curry, including red and green curries under the Thai-Indian Series of products. Further, it offers an extensive lineup of canned goods such as tuna in curry, one of its main products, so it might be a great idea to eat and compare them all. A can of Chicken Thai Curry – Yellow costs 173 JPY (incl. tax).
4. Yakitori Tare-Aji (Hotei Foods)
Yakitori Tare-Aji is said to be the standard of all standard Japanese canned goods because a large chunk of the Japanese population has experienced eating it at least once. The sweet soy sauce-based sauce and the aroma of charcoal used in cooking yakitori (chicken meat grilled on skewers), a famous dish at many izakaya drinking establishments, are sealed in a can with this product. With this, it is perfect as a snack with alcohol or as a bite to eat when you get hungry. Aside from getting this product as a souvenir from your travels, you should know that this would also be a great emergency food as it is still delicious even when served cold. A can of this product costs 160 JPY (excl. tax).
5. Takuan no Kanzume (Michimoto Food Products)
This is canned Japanese pickled vegetables, a rare find in the market. The major appeal of takuan (type of pickled daikon radish), one of the pickled vegetables that have long been loved in Japan, is its crunchy texture. Michimoto Food offers three types of flavored takuan in its lineup of products, the mild konbu (kelp), the sweet and sour umezu (plum vinegar), and hot togarashi chilies. In Japan, takuan is eaten together with white rice or as a snack together with tea. It is also a favorite among Japanese people who live abroad. Even those who are not used to eating takuan should still try it since they're likely to grow addicted to it So, enjoy the flavors of Japan! A can of this takuan costs 390 JPY (incl. tax).
You should try the wide range of unique canned goods available in Japan, such as those that contain Japanese dishes and those that you might find strange. Note that many of these items can be bought at a lower price if you go to a supermarket.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.