A Taste of Culture – NANBAN-ZUKÉ: Southern Barbarian Cookery

Food Elizabeth Andoh
detail from screen by 狩野内膳 Kanō Naizen.​ National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. Portugal

The Portuguese missionaries and merchants who came to Japan late in the 16th century arrived by way of southern waterways, settling in the port of Nagasaki, Kyushu. The Japanese referred to them as nanban jin or the “southern barbarians.” In addition to Christianity and trade, these early Portuguese visitors brought with them escabeche, a fried and pickled seafood delicacy popular in their homeland.

The Japanese adapted the Portuguese dish to their tastes, using a variety of small fish such as wakasagi smelts, mamé aji mini-mackerel, or kisu whiting calling it Nanban-Zuké. A plant-based version, Nasu Nanban, is made with eggplant.

Nanban-zuké 南蛮漬け

Instruction for preparing both a classic fish Nanban-zuké …

Nasu Nanban 茄子南蛮

and a vegan version made with eggplant are available at KITCHEN CULTURE blog

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Elizabeth Andoh
A Taste of Culture
Culinary Arts Program
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0095, Japan


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