[Food] Watermelon Radish + Euglena Salad Dressing

紅芯大根Watermelon radish, or koushin daikon [紅芯大根], is a type of hitherto relatively unknown vegetable that has become increasingly popular in Japan since the early 2010s.

Traditionally, radish or daikon [大根] is a stable ingredient that often appears in miso soup and oden etc. The word “daikon” itsself is (justly or unjustly) associated with drabness, dorkiness and frumpishness. For example:

  • Daikon ashi [大根足] refers to the plump, fleshy and ungainly legs of a fat woman.
  • Daikon yakusha [大根役者] refers to poor, wooden actors.
  • Daikon means “moron”.

Against this cultural milieu, watermelon radish has become to be associated with stylishness, trendiness and glamour. Unlike the traditional radish, watermelon radish is red inside; and whereas a radish tastes like radish, watermelon radish actually tastes like a very sweet watermelon, except it is crispier.

The best food I have ever had in Japan was raw watermelon radish served as part of the salad bar in a restaurant called Miyama Kitchen [美山キッチン] in Osaka. It was delicious as it was even without any dressing. The vegetables in the salad bar were sourced from an organic farm called Kitai Nouson [北井農村], and the salad bar was all-you-can-eat. What’s more – among the many kinds of salad dressing they offer, there is a newly invented type of dressing made from euglena [ユーグライナ], a green single-cell organism that is said to be the world’s next superfood (as well as a future fuel source).

Euglena is nicknamed “green bug” [ミドリムシ] in Japan. It has been gaining popularity in domestically but it is still relatively unknown in other countries. Already there are euglena miso soup, euglena seaweed soup, euglena biscuits, euglena candies, euglena chips and so on. I have not tried them all, but euglena salad dressing is at the moment my favorite salad dressing. You can read upon the amazing story behind the fast-growing Japanese company that commercialized euglena here.

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One thought on “[Food] Watermelon Radish + Euglena Salad Dressing

  1. This has been picked up by tofugu thursday most recently:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-03/meet-balmuda-the-230-toaster-from-japan
    It just had me think quite a bit about this post, as into that it’s quite disappointing, that I realize, I can’t imaging anything like the three things to ever emmerge from Europe. (Which is especially queer with the toaster since there are so many bread loving countries here. And it’s not like everybody just thinks “Well, I’ll just backe it fresh anyway.”)

    This watermelon radish looks like the a “Radieschen” in full young adult bloom. Radieschen is the cute little thing we have here: http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Radieschen
    It’s interesting that I notice, it doesn’t have an Englisch Wikipedia, although it seems to be known in Japan: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%8F%E3%83%84%E3%82%AB%E3%83%80%E3%82%A4%E3%82%B3%E3%83%B3
    I wonder, is it that uncommon in the English hemisphere? According to dictionaries it’s simply called plain “radish”. But it certainly doesn’t taste like watermelon. The idea of a radish tasting like watermelon appears queer while interesting. I suppose you probably can only get that in Japan?

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