Basashi, sashimi of horse meat, is a popular dish that pairs well with sake. The tender meat melts in the mouth. Traditional yakumi garnishes with medicinal properties include sliced onions, grated ginger, garlic, and the local sweet Kumamoto soy sauce. There are various theories to the history of basashi. Until 1955 horses that were no longer of use could be eaten if the meat was cooked. Starting around 1965 horses were raised and fattened for eating and the eating of horse sashimi was established.
Popular parts of the horse to consume include tender toro, marbled shimofuri, lean akami, and the tategami mane which is a very fatty piece. Over winter the horse becomes fat which can be enjoyed in spring. The best season for enjoying basashi is in spring when the sakura cherry trees are blossoming. The color of the cut meat is said to resemble the color of sakura cherry blossoms so basashi is also referred to as sakura niku (meat). Basashi is a lean meat, low in fat, and has a clean umami flavor. Garnished with ginger and garlic that add an accent. The local sweet soy sauce envelops the umami-rich basashi.RECIPE_HEADEND