While you’ve probably eaten the traditional form of Sushi, Funa-zushi is unique and distinctive. Funa-zushi is a type of fish that is salted and fermented in steamed rice in order to preserve the fish. Fish, usually carp, are caught at Lake Biwa, and are turned into Funa-zushi every year around March to May, and takes about 3 years to fully ferment. The smell is described as similar to cheese, and while it may take some getting used to, it is definitely something to experience.
Kamo nabe is a hot pot dish specialty native in Shiga Prefecture, particularly around the northern part of Lake Biwa. Historically, water fowl would migrate to and from the lake, and people would hunt them for food. While it is illegal to hunt ducks near the Lake Biwa area, the locals still love to enjoy a warm hot pot of duck produced legally, along with an assortment of vegetables, tofu, all with a nice soy base soup. The duck in particular is sweeter than regular chicken, and goes well with the ingredients.
Salmon caught from Lake Biwa is considered a delicacy around Shiga Prefecture as well as around the country. It is prepared and served like many other types of salmon, but the salmon itself is notorious for being difficult to catch traditionally. Nowadays, there are fish farms that can provide you with the delicious fish and its caviar. Because of the Lake’s separation from the sea, the Biwa salmon is actually its own subspecies, and is endemic to Lake Biwa.
There are three major brands of beef in Japan, which are widely known around the world: Kobe Beef, Matsuzaka Beef, and Omi beef. Out of the three, it is said that Omi Beef is the oldest, with over 400 years of history. Warlords that visited the prefecture would be served the high quality beef as a show of respect. Omi, or Ohmi beef is produced in Shiga, and gets its name from the original name of the prefecture, Omi Province. The meat is characterized as soft, high in fat content, and very, very delicious.
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