Ichigo-ni is a classic Aomori dish. Its name means “strawberry soup” in Japanese, and although it is indeed a soup, the dish surprisingly contains no strawberries, or any other fruit whatsoever. Instead, it is a soup made from sea urchin and abalone.
The dish’s name comes from the appearance of bits of sea urchin that float in the milky white broth of the soup. These pieces of sea urchin are said to poetically resemble wild strawberries veiled in the morning dew.
Although the dish uses ample amounts of both sea urchin and abalone, two ingredients that are quite expensive, it was originally a humble fisherman’s stew. Starting from the early 1900s, the dish’s image began to change and it began to be served in upscale traditional Japanese restaurants in the area as a luxury dish.
Even though the dish has become much more accessable today, it is still considered a special dish to many of the people in the area. It is served on special occasions, such as the New Year’s holiday period, and no celebration in the area is complete without it on the table.