Debira: A Setouchi Staple Snack Loved by Kids & Adults Alike!

Debira comes from the Japanese word, debirakarei, which is sundried five spot flounder. The nickname for the treat comes from its shape that resembles the palm of a hand (in Japanese 'te no hira'), and in the Setouchi area debira is a staple wintertime snack.  

 

 
 

It has a unique flavor and texture, and a savory fragrance when fried. It also goes well with alcohol, particularly sake.

But how do you eat hard, dry debira?  This time we will introduce the knack of enjoying this delicious snack. 

First, as a sake accompaniment: 

 

 

To make it easier to separate the meat from the bones, beat the whole fish with a wooden mallet on a kitchen towel. After this, roast it on the stove or over charcoal until the surface is slightly burned. But be careful not to roast it too much.

 
 
It's delicious with a splash of soy sauce, or after dipping it in a mixture of soy sauce and mayonnaise.

 

 

Loved by children and adults alike, next is debira on rice.

For me it's a soul food I've known since childhood. Bury slices of soy sauce seasoned debira in freshly cooked rice. 

 

 

The reason why the debira is buried in the rice is to steam it. When steaming, it become softer and its fragrance soaks into the rice. 

 
 

After I first moved to Tokyo, I would always ask my mother to make debira on rice when I went home to visit. As a finale, pouring some hot water on the dish to make it into debira chazuke (a dish with rice and toppings, topped with special hot tea or water) is the ultimate luxury, and a moment of pure bliss.

Lastly, I would like to recommend "debira sake". 

Pour hot water on thinly sliced debira, add some sake and warm the mixture in the microwave.
Debira's savory fragrance brings out the good flavor of the sake, and you'll just keep on craving for more. 

Debira’s appearance is so plain you might miss it even if they have it in the supermarket, but do try it if you can; its luxurious side is very addictive!

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Debira

Available for purchase at airports and souvenir corners at train stations.
Online purchase: http://item.rakuten.co.jp/yamaguchikaiseidou/10000109/
(in Japanese)

 
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Makoto Esaki & Yoko Suganami (Rainbow Sake Co., Ltd.)

 

 

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Rainbow Sake

Rainbow Sake

Yoko Suganami Rainbow Sake, Inc. After an extended stay in Hawaii, in 2011, I returned to my hometown of Kure, Hiroshima. Having worked at advertising companies in both Japan and Hawaii, I founded Rainbow Sake - a PR company with the goal of spreading Sake abroad. I hope that sake will ""bring the people of the world together"" and that I can be a part of that. I often travel abroad, and mostly to Hawaii and Singapore. Every time I come back home, I rediscover the beauty of my hometown and the happiness the easygoing, calm, fresh and simple sea and mountains of Setouchi bring.

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