Thanks to SoraNews24 for this:
Super-easy and super-scary to prepare, this is a meal that’s not for the faint of heart.
Recently our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa opened his refrigerator and found its shelves empty. A trip to the grocery store was in order, and so he headed over to supermarket Yoshiike, in Tokyo’s Ueno/Okachimachi neighborhood.
Seiji has become something of a regular at Yoshiike recently, and you might remember the store’s name from his recent taste test of octopus eggs. Once again, Seiji made his way to Yoshiike’s seafood corner, and while he was tempted to go with a repeat octopus egg purchase, he decided instead to try broadening his palate/challenging his courage with yet another unique food he’d never eaten, or seen, before: shark heart.
Yoshiike was selling shark heart at a price of 580 yen (US$5.40) per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), so this 275-gram bag worked out to 1,595 yen. Not the cheapest meal option, but also not out of reach of Seiji’s modest food budget.
After a few quick questions to the always helpful Yoshiike staff about how to prepare shark heart for eating, Seiji paid for his purchase and returned home. With his own heart beating harder than usual, he opened the sack, slid the contents out onto a plate…
…and was instantly terrified. He’d half-expected the heart to be sliced into strips, like when you buy a cut of fish, but nope, the bag simply contained a complete shark heart.
Unlike with the octopus eggs, which had such an otherworldly appearance that unless someone told you what they were you might not be able to guess, there’s no mistaking a shark heart for anything other than a blood-pumping internal organ. As a matter of fact, if you lack the nerves of steel to closely examine it the first time you see it, you might even mistake it for a human heart.
Seiji was momentarily frozen with fear. He realized, though, that the longer he sat there with a whole heart on a tray in front of him, the greater the chance that someone would walk in on him and come to the conclusion that he was practicing some sort of marine necromancy ritual or other kind of forbidden black magic, and so he got to work.
The Yoshiike staff had told Seiji that before eating the shark heart, he’d have to drain off the blood that was still inside. There are two ways to do this. Method 1 is to pour water into the big vein/artery at the top of heart and repeatedly squeeze the whole thing, essentially simulating the heart’s pumping until it expels itself of blood. Method 2, which they told us is the easier way, is to slice the heart in half, rinse out the two sections, and give them just two or three firm squeezes.
▼ It’s not often that “cut a heart in half with a knife” is the easy way to prepare your lunch, but here we are.
Seiji felt a twinge of fright as he touched the heart with his hands. This was quickly replaced with full-on terror as he remembered that he was going to be putting this in his mouth in just a few minutes.
▼ He tried to calm himself by humming a happy tune, but realized that softly singing “Happy Birthday to You” while holding a bisected heart in your hands just makes you look like a serial killer.
Seiji had been informed by the supermarket staff that shark heart can be eaten raw. He briefly considered just grabbing a piece in both hands and tearing into it with his teeth, but he reconsidered out of concern that this would be poor table manners and might summon a shark devil god. Instead, he sliced the heart into bite-sized pieces, and for the first time it looked more like a meal than a dissection.
For seasoning, Seiji whipped up a simple sauce of grated garlic, sesame oil, and salt, which is sometimes used for raw liver in Japan. Then all that was left to do was grab his chopsticks and taste what he’d gotten himself into.
…whenever you’re ready.
…any time now…
Finally popping it in his mouth, Seiji chewed, swallowed, and was shocked…
…at how good it tasted.
“It’s got a mild sweetness, but what’s really appealing is the texture,” Seiji says. “The outer layer is firm, but it gets tenderer inside.”
In the end, Seiji polished off his entire shark heart in a single sitting. He didn’t even offer us a bite…which, honestly, probably made all of us happier.
Yoshiike / 吉池
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Ueno 3-27-12
Open 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.