Eating out / Chiba boar meat hot pot warms up wintry days

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The ingredients of Boso Juniku Center’s boar meat hot pot are seen before being cooked in a miso-based broth.

By Rintaro Kaizuka / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterCHIBA — “Kemono shutsubotsu chui!” (Beware of beasts!) reads a message written in red lettering on a large image of a boar. That is the eye-catching signboard in front of the Boso Juniku Center grill in Chiba. The restaurant’s name means “Boso’s animal meat center,” referring to Chiba Prefecture’s Boso Peninsula.

It is one of Chiba’s few restaurants specializing in game meat. As game is not widely available, the restaurant piqued my curiosity.

The specialty served here is inoshishi nabe (boar hot pot) using local boar meat. The dish costs ¥1,980 plus tax per person and can be ordered in servings for two or more people. The hot pot was full of boar meat and vegetables, including bean sprouts and shredded carrots. The pot was placed on a stove on the table.

“It’s ready to eat when the vegetables become translucent,” said Koji Morimura, 52, the restaurant manager, as he poured a special broth into the pot in a circular motion.

As the vegetables began to soften, I tried a piece of boar meat to find it well infused with the miso-based broth. I had imagined boar meat would taste somewhat gamy, but I was wrong. The firm meat is addictive. As I alternated between the meat and vegetables, I felt warmer and warmer. I really savored the joys of dining on hot pot.

According to Morimura, the prefecture’s boar meat is lean and doesn’t have a strong smell. The leg meat in particular has just the right amount of fat so is easy to eat for first-timers.

The restaurant opened in June 2017 and diners of all ages have visited, as they can enjoy eating 16 types of exotic meat, including kangaroo, camel and alligator.

Last month, the restaurant started offering shabu-shabu with fattier winter boar meat.

“I hope people will increase their stamina with boar meat as the year-end turns chilly and they enjoy a happy New Year as well,” Morimura said.

Boso Juniku Center

Open: 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. (until 11 p.m. on Sundays and national holidays)

Open daily except year-end and New Year’s holidays

Address: 2-15-8 Fujimi, Chuo Ward, Chiba

Phone: (043) 441-6565

Credit cards accepted

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