176 Azakesezawa, Funagawa, Funagawaminato, Oga-shi 010-0511Google Map
|10 minute walk from JR Oga Station
|Factory Opening Hours
|10:00AM-4:00PM Macimum capacity: 40 people
|Reservations required in advance (by phone or e-mail)
Founded in 1930, our company manufactures miso, soy sauce, pickled foods, and shottsuru sandfish sauce.
Our shottsuru, a traditional regional specialty of Akita Prefecture’s Oga Peninsula, is entirely prepared with domestic ingredients.
■”Hatahata” (Sandfish), the Divine Fish
Akita Prefecture’s symbol, the hatahata sand fish, is referred to as the “divine fish”, as its kanji is written with the character for “fish” and “god”. It is a seasonal sight to see the beach in early December covered with sandfishes washed up from the rough ocean along with lightning bolts, which could indicate that the fish are a divine gift for Akita’s fishers.
The people of Akita, in order to preserve the fish for longer periods of time, have preservation methods of drying, salting, and converting the fish into fish sauce, using the hatahata in its entirety in various ways. One of these representative dishes is Shottsuru Nabe Hot Pot, in which raw hatahata is boiled in hatahata fish broth.
However, the rapid advancement of fishing technologies had the adverse effect of nearly depleting the hatahata resevoir, which in turn decreased the supply and caused price inflation. To overcome this situation, local fishers voluntarily stopped or refrained from overfishing them to maintain the fish population from 1992-1995. These efforts attracted global attention for the fishermen’s selfless decision. Unfortunately, the overall demand for hatahata has dropped due to lack of local interest for the traditional delicacy, in spite of the catching volume resuming normal levels. So ironically, the more hatahata fishermen caught, the more losses they incurred upon themselves.
As thus, in hopes ot sustaining the hatahata resevoir and expanding its appeal, we made it our urgent goal to reevaluate the value of hatahata fish, and increase its sale and consumption through exploring and experimenting with numerous preparation methods and recipes.
Moroi Brewery ■Shottsuru Revival History
Shottsuru sandfish sauce is the indispensible seasoning for the famous Akita local dish, shottsuru hot pot. Shottsuru is included in a list of nationally best fish sauces, along with ishiru fish sauce from Ishikawa Prefecture and ikanago fish soy sauce from Kagawa Prefecture. Fish sauce is a seasoning sauce made from pickling fish in just salt, letting it ferment with inner protease (a protein decomposer), and all while gently churning it. It goes well with various dishes due to its rich flavor created from amino acids and rich levels of peptide, even more than a normal grain contains. That is to say, authentic shottsuru can only be made with traditional methods: using Akita’s representative fish, hatahata, and sunlight. There are several companies that specialize in producing shottsuru, and most use a different method: for example, using soy sauce yeast, enzymes, and yeast starters in order to shorten the time it takes to remove the salt from the sauce and heighten the flavor. Another example is to import nam pla, adjust it with other condiments, and market it as fish sauce. We’ve found that all of these products are totally different from our ideal fish sauce.
We hold to the responsibility of preserving authentic shottsuru for future generations, so we take our time with making it.
The urgency was what motivated us to commodify the product. In 1983, we established our company’s policy, which is to only use natural salt and local hatahata.
There was much trial and error–we even had to face the prohibition of fishing entirely. During the ban, we started to research experimental production methods with a research institution in 1997. After three years, we finally achieved our ideal shottsuru.
At our company, we take at least three years to change hatahata and salt into the amber-colored sauce, shottsuru.
Our recipe is pretty simple. Fresh hatahata is pickled with natural salt and stored in a cask, where it is compressed by a stone. Periodically, fresh air is incorporated by stirring it with a pole. Nothing else is added to it, but we have to be wary of the fermentation environment. We patiently supervize nature doing its work, maintaining optimal conditions. After the three year fermentation, the cask is divided into three layers: bones submerged to the bottom, mash that floated up to the surface, and the shottsuru in the middle, now an amber-colored liquid and ready to bottle and ship. Our shottsuru is quite different from that of other companies in that it has a rich aroma as opposed to a off-putting, fishy scent. Thus, ours is suitable for various dishes, including Akita’s traditional dishes, kayaki shell plate and shottsuru hot pot. Besides in those dishes, our sauce can also be used in Italian cuisine, because the mash used makes it quite similar tasting to anchovies. Even better, we have a 10 year shottsuru, which is shottsuru that was fermented in casks for 10 years. Even in the global market such a fish sauce is rare!
We offer tours of our preparation warehouse.