Bonito flakes are one of the most popular ingredients in Japanese cuisine. From serving as a garnish to being the base for dashi (fish broth), these fish shavings are incredibly versatile. Making bonito flakes, or kazuri-bushi, is a tough job, but the process makes the flavor worth it.
The above video from Great Big Story shows how these fish shavings come to life. First, a piece of tuna goes through a long process of cooking, drying, and fermentation. Afterward, the final product, called katsuobushi, is as hard as a piece of wood. When katsuobushi is thinly shaved, kazuri-bushi is born.
To see the entire process each fish goes through, check out the above video. Great Big Story’s tale focuses on a traditional katasuobushi producer that still fillets by hand. However, the dried fish often goes through a mechanical process these days, making the video a true trip into history.