Taimeshi (鯛めし) is a fish and rice dish from Ehime Prefecture (Shikoku Region).
It is a fairly simple dish consisting of cooked sea bream with rice. There is also a famous variation known as “Uwajima Taimeshi“, also from Ehime Prefecture.
“Tai” (鯛) means sea bream in Japanese; “meshi” (めし・飯) means rice or meal.
Read on for more interesting info about taimeshi:
The main ingredients of Taimeshi are:
- Sea bream
Sea bream and rice are the only main ingredients of taimeshi.
Typical seasoning ingredients used are soy sauce (i.e. shoyu), mirin, sake, and dashi (i.e. soup stock).
Location & Variations
Taimeshi is a popular dish that can now be found throughout Japan. It is particularly popular as an ekiben (i.e. lunchbox bought at train station).
Ehime Prefecture is the most famous place in Japan for Taimeshi, and is where the dish originated. Some different areas within Ehime also have their own variations of the dish. Imabari City is said to be original city of taimeshi. The most famous variations are Hojo Taimeshi, and Uwajima Taimeshi.
Hojo Taimeshi (北条鯛めし) is from a former area in Ehime called Hojo (now part of Matsuyama). The sea bream is cooked whole, and only broken apart when being served. This style is more common in the middle and northern parts of Ehime (including Imabari City).
Uwajima Taimeshi (宇和島鯛めし) is named after Uwajima City, in the southern region of Ehime. In this version, raw sea bream (i.e. sea bream sashimi) is seasoned with soy sauce, raw egg, and other condiments, then served over a warm white rice.
It is similar to hyugameshi, except that it uses sea bream instead of horse mackeral or other fish.
In any case, you can find both styles throughout Ehime, especially in the main city of Matsuyama.
History / Origin of Taimeshi
The origins of taimeshi go WAY back to around 200 AD. (i.e. nearly 2000 years ago!)
During this time, the legendary Empress Jingu (神功皇后) was invading (i.e. at war with) the Korean Peninsula.
It is said that while she was praying for victory at a shrine in Hojo City, a fisherman offered her a sea bream caught in nearby waters.
The Empress saw this as a good omen, and cooked rice with the offering. She was delighted with the taste of the dish, and thus, taimeshi was born!
(Also, her conquest of the Korean Peninsula was a success.)
In present day Hojo area, taimeshi is still often eaten for celebratory events.
Have you ever tried taimeshi before? What did you think of it?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!