Kusaya. The fish that’s made from marinating a fresh fish in kusaya-eki, fermented fish broth known for extracting the umami from fish with an activating enzyme. Traditional cuisine from Izu Island, kusaya has become synonymous with funk. Not the rich beats and slaps of a bass funk; instead, kusaya comes from the word meaning stench in Japanese and it lives up to its name.

And, there’s only one specialized kusaya bar in Japan, which will open in Ikebukuro.

AIGAE KUSAYA BAR offers dishes such as Kusaya Cream Cheese Dip Seaweed, Kusaya Ahijo arranged with food to compliment its flavor. Try it with tequila or wander into the funk with wine. Pairing kusaya can be a treat. The cream cheese dip uses Iburigakko, a smoked daikon radish pickle. With the funky fragrance of kusaya, the dish tastes a little like potato salad. We recommend this for your first dish. The Kusaya Ahijo offers a rich combination of kusaya and garlic harmonized for the most discerning of palates.

Straight kusaya, aged raw kusaya, and hachijomuraaji kusaya marinated in kusaya-eki for two days for the richest umami. The soft texture and rich flavor are a fantastic mach for Japanese sake.

Every dish is from Hachijo Island. Also, the store extracts salt to take away the sharp taste from marinating in kusaya-eki. Doing this results in a more pleasant smelling kusaya.

Address: Nagaoka building 4F, 2-16-1 Minami-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6912-6636
Opening hours: 3pm-3am
Open year round
© Toru Yuasa Tequila paired with kusaya and a kusaya lemon. From the front: tequila (¥648) Kusaya Ahijo (¥1,058)
© Toru Yuasa This cozy hideaway’s counter faces a well stocked bar and the kusaya itself. The staff and owner have come from Hachijo Island to share its culture with Tokyoites. The bar’s cover charge is ¥864.
© Toru Yuasa Cream cheese kusaya on nori with wasabi or red pepper, forty varieties of shochu, particularly from Izu. The Kusaya Cream Cheese Dip is ¥734. 60ml of Bakkan Nasakejima shochu is ¥735.
© Toru Yuasa The Kusaya VIP Room allows customers to heat their own raw kusaya, enjoying the unique aroma without disturbing other customers at the counter. The room is an experience to behold. Aged Raw Kusaya ¥1,382.
© Toru Yuasa We recommend Hachijo Island’s shimazushi from the menu. The zuke, a soy marinated amberjack cut into three thin slices and served on sweetened rice, is served with blended raw pepper and yuzu instead of wasabi. From the right, Shimazushi ¥270, Aburi-shimazushi ¥324.


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