Well, that day has come. I knew the day was coming, but I knew not when, where, or with whom it would happen. But I knew it was coming. Yes, my friends, I have eaten an entire fish. From crispy tail to gaping, wide-mouthed, eyes-still-attached head. I ate all his bones... his spine... his eye... his gills... I ate everything... I knew this day was coming because Japanese people love to eat grilled fish whole, but... I didn't know when I would finally be made to try it. I have eaten raw squid... I have eaten grilled fish skin... I have eaten shrimp with the legs still attached, I have eaten fish eggs of every variety... but finally I have consumed... a roley, poley fish head.
Eat them up, yum!
Yeah, actually, it was pretty delicious. Yes, roll your eyes at Kita the Seafood Lover but... it really is delicious if you can get past eating a fish head. When I saw the pile of grilled fish on the table, I decided to play dumb and ask my host mother if you could eat the whole thing. She looked incredulous and she was like "uh, of course." So I explained that Americans would find such a dish to be repulsive and horrifying. I told her that my mom always says she won't eat anything that's still looking at her. My host mother nodded understandingly but was like "yeah well... it's delicious, so eat it." I told her it was fine because I'm adventurous and I'll try anything once (fish ovaries are still on my list of upcoming adventures but my host mother won't let it in the house because it's too high in cholesterol, lol). My theory on food is that, if the natives eat it and it doesn't make them sick or kill them then... it's obviously okay so... no big deal, as long as it tastes good.
So I picked up a fish and I bit off the tail... and I worked my way up. Being the morbid person that I am, I had to peer inside the fish as I ate it and scrutinize every little detail. Didn't seem to have organs, for some reason... just flesh and bone. Lots of bones. You could see them sticking out but they become soft when you cook them and it's edible. It's actually ridiculously healthy because you eat the bone marrow, and bone marrow is the most nutritious substance you can consume. Then I got to the head. I was like... "hey, you... don't look at me like that..." I told myself not to think about it and popped the whole thing in my mouth. It didn't taste any different or feel any different than the rest of the fish, lol. So if you're feeling really adventurous and in Japan and you want to step out of your comfort zone, I recommend it! Roley poley fish heads are delicious.