Tai Meshi (Sea Bream and Rice) (鯛めし)
Tai Meshi is one of the local dishes in which sea bream is used.
Tai Meshi in Ehime
Tai Meshi is one of the local dishes of Ehime Prefecture.
Tai Meshi' can be classified into two categories, based on the region.
Toyo area, Chuyo area
A whole sea bream is grilled as it uncut and served on top of partially cooked rice that is flavored with soy sauce and salt. The dish is cooked further for it to be ready. Normally, Tai Meshi is served in an earthenware pot. It is a common cuisine in the Toyo area, such as Imabari City, and in Matsuyama, Hojo, and so on in Chuyo area.
Similar cuisine includes Tai Men (sea bream noodles) and Tai Somen (sea bream thin noodles).
Tai sashimi (raw sea bream) on top of rice is eaten with a special sauce, mixed with raw egg and spices such as sesames and onions. In some occasions, tai sashimi is marinated in a sauce before being put on top of rice. The sauce is soy sauce-based, with flavors unique to each restaurant and household. It is commonly eaten in the Nanyo area, such as Uwajima City.
According to Akira DOINAKA, a native researcher, Tai Meshi in the Nanyo area when first introduced has remained the same on and after 1985. Before that, 'Hyuga meshi' in which aji (Japanese horse mackerel) is used was popular, besides sea bream. Doinaka points out that the description of 'Tai Meshi (Hyuga Meshi)' appeared on and after 1985. Doinaka suggested that this has resulted from a tourism policy to introduce a speciality of the Nanyo area to tourists.
(This is cited from "Secrets of Ehime Foods," Akira DOINAKA (Atlas Publishing Inc.))
Tai Meshi, however, has a long history and its origin allegedly dates back to the Iyo navy of FUJIWARA no Sumitomo who lived in the Heian period.
In the Uwajima area, it was normally known just as 'Tai Meshi.'
Thus it is a fact that the name was already used in the early 1960s in the area.
In 2007, with 'Uwajima' added to the beginning of the name of the area, 'Uwajima Tai Meshi' was selected as one of 'the hundred best local dishes' organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
In either case, Tai Meshi is mixed with white rice to be eaten at the end.
Ekiben (a box lunch sold on a train or at a station)
One of the ekibens, using sea bream, 'Seto no Oshizushi' (pressed sushi in Seto), won the first prize in the National Ekiben contest featured on the Saturday Edition of Nippon Keizai Shimbun in May 2006.
Tai Meshi in Shizuoka is served with seasoned sea bream powder on top of mixed rice.