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Basic questions about raw Japanese foods

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Are those appear-to-be-raw Japanese foods really raw, for example let's take sushi (I actually know more than this dish but I don't know what the other raw-looking are called)? If yes, are they actually safe to consume in a daily basis?
Note that what concerns me is the hygiene of the food, not the nutrition contents.
Also, if someone is willing, would you please list Japanese foods which are served with raw ingredients?
 

mdchachi

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Are those appear-to-be-raw Japanese foods really raw, for example let's take sushi (I actually know more than this dish but I don't know what the other raw-looking are called)? If yes, are they actually safe to consume in a daily basis?
Note that what concerns me is the hygiene of the food, not the nutrition contents.
Also, if someone is willing, would you please list Japanese foods which are served with raw ingredients?
Are you including vegetables or are you concerned only about fish & meat?

Yes sushi & sashimi contain raw seafood often. Yes it's safe & hygenic. There are some things like Saba that are not safe and aren't served raw. Japan has pretty much figured it out over hundreds of years.

Some people don't like it and so they stick to sushi that doesn't contain raw items. It's easy enough to do.
 
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One of the most common raw foods in Japan that is not seen raw in other countries is eggs.
The raw appeal of eggs | The Japan Times

I can't stand the texture of raw eggs personally, but it seems it's safe to eat them in Japan because of the way they're produced. Just make sure to observe the best-before date on the eggs, which refers to the date after which they shouldn't be eaten uncooked.
 
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Yes sushi & sashimi contain raw seafood often. Yes it's safe & hygenic.
Yes, I am more concerned with the fish and meat. What about the harmful organisms that live inside the meat? All I know about cooking up to now is that people have their food heated with whatever method before they eat it in order to kill the harmful bacteria and worms and may be viruses.
There are some things like Saba that are not safe and aren't served raw.
If my google search was accurate enough, saba is a type of grilled mackerel, am I right? Why is it not safe?
One of the most common raw foods in Japan that is not seen raw in other countries is eggs.
One of such type I have known for a while is the egg-over-rice, typically with some soya sauce stirred in. Letting raw egg enter your gut, just how friendly/weak are the contained bacteria?
 
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@hiverloon
All food has bacteria on it. That's why you can eat salad after it's been in your fridge for a day but not a month. And if you cook meat that's past its best you can still get ill.

If you go to a restaurant they will know how to prepare food so that it's fresh enough and safe to eat. You shouldn't have any ill effect even if you eat sushi and raw egg every single day.

If you want to eat raw food at home, pay attention to best-before dates as you normally would. You don't have anything more to worry about than you would in any other country. If you're not sure how long it's safe to store a particular raw food, you can look it up online first or ask your Japanese friends.
 
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I wouldn't worry about any of it unless you have some predisposition biologically against such things. If it was a problem here of any significance, people would be reporting sickness or death, and that is not happening.
Not all sushi is raw. Some gets cooked prior to serving, some gets singed with a blowtorch.
Here's some raw beef served in Japan. Ugh.
Here's some raw chicken. Note that is specially raised and prepared. Double ugh.
You can Google raw liver sashimi and raw horse meat, too.
 
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Unless the animal was sick at the time it was slaughtered, or errors were made in the butchering process, raw meats are perfectly safe while fresh. (E. Coli can be introduced to the meat if the intestines aren't removed in a sanitary way; and of course, over time, foods are exposed to bacteria in the air some of which can grow within the food.)

In fact, cooking beef to 'medium rare' or 'medium' doesn't do anything to improve the safety of the food (unless bacteria were on only the surface from contact with the air or other foods, I suppose). The internal temperature for anything less than 'well done' just isn't going to kill the bacteria.

The reason undercooked or raw chicken and egg are dangerous in the United States is because of the conditions of our factory farmed hens. Salmonella is an ongoing pandemic among them, and so the chances of salmonella contamination are quite high (well, roughly 1 in 2000 for eggs, I'm not sure about chickens but it would be higher since not all eggs from an infected hen have salmonella inside the egg.)
Incidentally, this is also why eggs must be refrigerated in the US and not else where - our eggs are cleaned to remove surface salmonella from the shell, and that process damages the integrity of the shell allowing airborne bacteria to enter, and those bacteria would grow if the egg were not refrigerated. The rest of the world (and people who raise their own chickens) find it perfectly normal to leave eggs out at room temperature.
Most of the time when salmonella is inside the egg, it's only in the white and not the yolk, so eggs with the whites cooked but runny yolks are considerably safer than raw eggs.

Raw seafood is extremely case-by-case. Some fish and shellfish are likely to have bacteria in them that don't harm them but will make people sick, or parasites that -are- making them sick and will also make us sick. Sometime it depends on the season or the water temperature. It gets pretty complicated, but a lot of care is taken to get it right.

I'm not going to look up references for all this, but I do work as a cook and did pass the ServSafe test with a 98% so I know a little about it.

Searching up 'foodborne illness' should find you a lot of information, but you may not enjoy food as much after reading up on it.

FWIW, I've eaten a fair bit of sushi, beef carpaccio, clams and oysters on the half-shell, and always take my eggs runny. That's never caused me any problem at all.

I did once have a bad few days from a chicken salad that had been mishandled though...
 

Mike Cash

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Not all sushi is raw. Some gets cooked prior to serving, some gets singed with a blowtorch.
And a whole bunch of it has been deep-frozen as well.
 

mdchachi

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If my google search was accurate enough, saba is a type of grilled mackerel, am I right? Why is it not safe?
Yes, mackerel. Based on my google search it's because it spoils quickly (which implies that it doesn't freeze well) and because it's prone to parasites.

Really, eating properly prepared raw foods is not a safety issue. It's more of a psychological issue. It's hard to enjoy if you feel it's not safe or just don't like the taste/texture. But if you give it a chance you may come to like it. Many people don't like sushi at first but then grow to love it.

In Japan I've had occasion to eat raw beef, horse, chicken, eggs, whale and many seafood.
So far I've never gotten sick from any of it. Not even from the sushi sold in the U.S.
 
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I think for now I will first read up those references and links you posted in this thread.
I'm not going to look up references for all this, but I do work as a cook and did pass the ServSafe test with a 98% so I know a little about it.
Thanks for the explanation. I am lucky enough to have a certified cook to respond to my food-related questions.
 
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@hiverloon
I now have a recollection you mentioned a medical condition that affected your diet in another thread. (Well, it's possible that was another member, I can't find the thread right now...)

If you're asking us about raw foods because you have a particular medical condition, I'd encourage you to visit your doctor before leaving for Japan and explain your concerns. They can tell you if there are foods you should avoid, or at least give you peace of mind that your health will not be affected.
 
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