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In Japan, almost every traditional meal is served with white rice. Sometimes, though, even Japanese diners find themselves craving something a little more flavorful, and when they do, they reach for a container of furikake (lit. “sprinkle over”) flakes to liven up their rice.

Dried fish like salmon or bonito are the most common kinds of furikake, but just like every region of Japan has its own special Kit-Kats, different parts of the country also have their own unique furikake, and today we’re taking a look at seven of the most tempting.

1. Shikuwasa

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Starting off in Japan’s tropical south, the islands of Okinawa are a prime growing spot for shikuwasa. The fragrant citrus fruit is also known as flat lemon or hirami lemon, and makes for a tangy and refreshing furikake with an invigorating fragrance.

2. Garlic

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Speaking of furikake that imparts an unmistakable scent, Aomori Prefecture is Japan’s leading producer of garlic. The locally made garlic furikake is supposed to taste great and stimulate your appetite, but we wouldn’t recommend starting your day with it before heading off to school or the office.

3. Soba

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Although it’s usually eaten as a noodle, Shizuoka Prefecture also makes soba buckwheat into furikake loaded with healthy rutin, a circulation-improving antioxidant.

4. Yakisoba

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Shizuoka brings a second dose of noodle goodness with furikake based off the inexpensive local delicacy called Fujisan yakisoba, a heaping helping of stir-fried noodles piled high like Mt. Fuji. The furikake version is flavored with the same tasty sauce as the original dish.

5. Hitsumabushi

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Nagoya has a number of tasty temptations that draw visitors to the city, including miso pork cutlets and tempura shrimp rice balls. The most upmarket, though, is histumabushi, grilled unagi (freshwater eel) served over rice. Turned into furikake, it delivers a sweet and spicy flavor, just the sort of thing to add to your lunchtime bento boxed lunch to power you through the rest of the day.

6. Kaki no tane

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Although kaki no tane literally translates as “persimmon seeds,” in this case it’s referring to little chips of fried mochi that are a specialty of Niigata Prefecture. Since mocha by itself doesn’t have much more flavor than plain rice, the kaki no tane furikake comes in two differently seasoned versions: crab for seafood lovers or wasabi for spice fiends.

7. Butter potato

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Finally, from Hokkaido, Japan’s spud capital, comes furikake with the flavor of baked potatoes slathered in butter. This is a popular souvenir for travelers flying out of the northern island’s Chitose Airport, and those who’ve tried it say it tastes like pouring potato chips over rice (flavors we’ve recently had fun combining ourselves).

All of these varieties of furikake can be ordered online from retailers such as Rakuten and Amazon Japan. So if you can’t bear the thought of staring at a bowl of unflavored white rice, stock up on the whole list and you’ll be set for every day of the week.

Source: Japaaan
Top image: Rakuten
Insert images: Okinawa Bijin, Feenu, Amazon Japan, Tono Shizuoka, SMCB, Tono Shizuoka (2), Xtone, Amazon Japan (2), Rakuten (2, 3), Amazon Japan (3), Rakuten (4)