Let’s pretend we’re buddies. I’m visiting you from Japan and brought with me all kinds of fun and interesting snacks. There’s one in particular I want to introduce you to. I ask you to hold out your hand and close your eyes. We’re buddies, remember? You trust me. I then proceed to fill your palm with hard, brown and beige, oddly-sized pieces of something that isn’t exactly beef jerky.
You open your eyes, examine the curious snack, sniff it, then pop one into your mouth.
While you chew, I show you the package. A cute cartoonish pig is wearing an apron while standing in front of a BBQ with some nondescript meat cooking on the grill. If you’re okay with gamey, beef jerky textured, off-tasting meat, you’re quite happy with the gift. If you’re like me, however, and would rather not do unidentifiable dried flesh snacks, you’re starting to reach for your water bottle.
Before you can even ask, I tell you you’ve just feasted on Yamituski Horumon, Addictive Hormones. This little package is one of the recommended snack foods currently touted in 7-11s across Japan.
You raise an eyebrow. Hormones? I explain to you that it’s good to know if you’re ever traveling in Japan and see a restaurant or menu boasting horumon (hormones), it means they’re serving various animal innards.
Here’s very short list of some of the yummies you might encounter:
Harami = diaphragm
Himo or hoso = (string, thin) small intestine (sometimes a pig’s appendix)
Mino = first stomach of a cow’s four stomachs, a bit tough, not much fat
Hachi no su (bee hive, because that’s what it looks like) = this is cow stomach number two and thought to be the most delicious of the four
Kobukuro (child bag) = uterus (almost always pork, beef uterus is too tough, they say)
Chichi kabu = nipple
Teppo (rifle or gun) = rectum
I immediately try to ease your mind by telling you what you’ve just eaten — the Yamitsuki Horumon treat — is none of the above, actually, it’s only dried heart and tripe that have been dipped in a delicious salty sauce. Read the rest