How the Japanese Craft the World’s Hardest Food called Katsuobushi

Think of a piece of wood you can eat. Katsuobushi is said to be the hardest food in the world. It’s hard as wood.



The main ingredient to make it is big tuna fish. Janapese can buy it from your nearest supermarket. As people claims, it goes with almost any type of food and enhances the taste of that particular food a lot.

From a Katsuobushi producer – Takashi Suzuki

Takashi Suzuki has been making katsuobushi for the last 30 years. Katsuobushi is one of the most basic ingredients of Japanese food. When its cut it is called kezuri-bushi. It has been eaten as a topping on rice, chilled tofu and so on for a long time in Japan. People also use it as soup stock and put it in miso soup, soba, udon, etc.


Takashi Suzuki with two pieces of Katsuobushi on hand

Over 90 percent of all of the world’s hardest food is produced in Shizuoka and Kagoshima, but it is all over Japan. Here we’re featuring a factory Yamashichi Co. Ltd. They produce 70-75 tons of the world’s hardest food a month, which means about 900 tons a year. A piece of Katsuobushi needs about a half a year to be made. First, they fillet the fish, boil it and then add heat and dry it out. After it has dried, they put it in the mold and wait for about four months. Then it’s done.

Suzuki thinks the number of Katsuobushi produces been decreasing. It’s because the process has become more mechanized; most of this produced today doesn’t need knives or chopping boards. So there are less and fewer producers like Suzuki who use knives to fillet the fish.

He seems very proud of what they do. He said that he takes responsibility for this tradition of Japanese food. Therefore they will work hard and keep making it.

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