Salt fish hot dog! If you think a word (or two) needs dropping from that sentence, think again.

For a limited time only, a crisp, salty whole sweetfish – in a bun! – can be yours to enjoy at Kyoto Aquarium. Yep. At the aquarium. I don’t know about you, but after looking at aquatic creatures all day I’m not really in the mood for fish…

Not so our reporter Yuuichiro, who was so excited to hear about the fish dog that he headed down to the aquarium cafe and put together this photo review for us! This is his report, eyeballs and all.

Shioyaki Doggu. “Just from the name”, Yuuichiro explains, “I felt that this could be a game-changer in the world of hot dogs.”

Shioyaki means salt-grilled, and it’s a common and delicious way of cooking fish in Japan. As for the doggu – well, the sweetfish is in a bread bun, which apparently makes it a dog in Japanese. (I always thought the “dog” was the meat part of the hot dog, not the bread, but language is an ever-evolving thing, innit?)

“Kyoto Aquarium isn’t too far from the JR station,” says Yuuichiro. “An adult male could probably walk from the station in 15 minutes.”

The shioyaki doggu is available at the Harvest Café, which is actually located right near the exit to the aquarium. Hopefully, you’ll have worked up an appetite while looking at all the fishies swimming around.

Yuuichiro’s first impression on receiving the doggu? “WOW, that’s a whole fish!” The sweetfish (incidentally, it’s called “ayu” in Japanese) looked a little out-of-place sandwiched in the bun, so he pulled it out to have a closer look. Keeping it company in the bun were some shiso leaves and a lotus root chip. He wasn’t sure why, but the presence of these items made the lonely fish look a bit happier somehow!

▼ The sweetfish looked slightly depressing to begin with.

▼ We gave it some breathing space. Much better!

So, in terms of appearance the fish was pretty high-impact, but what about the taste? Our reporter was starting to wonder if volunteering for this taste test had been such a good idea after all. The doggu certainly looked very original, but maybe it was just a bit too original…!?

There was nothing for it. He screwed his courage to its sticking place and took a big bite. And… “Not bad at all!” The perfectly salted sweetfish, combined with the soft bread, made a surprisingly harmonious match! At first, Yuuichiro explains, he’d thought the two flavours wouldn’t go together, but they actually combined beautifully.

The real key to this dog’s success, however, is the presence of shiso and lotus root. The shiso leaf cuts through the “fishiness” of the sweetfish, and the lotus root chips are sprinkled with garlic, providing flavour as well as crunch.

▼ Shiso and lotus root – sweetfish’s right hand men.

In conclusion: you might need to pluck up a bit of courage to order it, but the shioyaki doggu is not just a novelty item, declares Yuuichiro. It truly deserves to be on the menu all year round!

Grab it while you can at the Harvest Café, Kyoto Aquarium, until October 31. And it’s only 500 yen (US $4.67)! They should’ve called it “one-coin salt fish hot dog”, really.

All photos: RocketNews24

[ Read in Japanese ]