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"Jibie" Cuisine in Okayama

Gourmet Trend Utilizing Wild Game

A trend utilizing wild game, specifically wild boar meat, is sweeping Okayama Prefecture. Known as "jibie" (ジビエ)in Japanese, the word is derived from the French "gibier" and simply means "wild game".

Although I am generally very adventurous when it comes to trying new food, I have never really been interested in trying wild boar meat. It has an image of being fatty, gamey, and tough. However, I recently visited The Garden Terrace (TGT) restaurant at the Okayama International Hotel; TGT was deemed in 2014 as being one of the best fine cuisine restaurants in the city.

The recommended seasonal menu was a wild boar meat set menu; contrary to previous impressions, it actually looked really delicious, so I decided to try it. I'm glad I did--it was prepared well, and had no gamey flavor or smell, and was quite tender. The meat was served two ways: grilled and pan-seared, served with a demiglasse-style sauce and a French pear sauce, along with a side of locally-harvested seasonal vegetables. The set also included an appetizer set, a starter dish of fresh seasonal vegetables and shrimp in a strawberry-balsamico sauce, dessert, and coffee or tea.

Although the meal was on the expensive side, I would recommend it for special occassions.

Additionally, Okayama Prefecture Government sponsoring a stamp rally to encourage consumers to visit restaurants serving wild game. You can find information on all restaurants in the city that serve "jibie" here:

http://www.pref.okayama.jp/uploaded/life/306978_3076795_misc.pdf

"Jibie" cuisine is available only in the colder months of the year; for food safety reasons, the chefs at the restaurants on the prefectural list are specially qualified to prepare cuisine using wild game.

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Andrea Miyata

United States

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