In general, the Japanese are not great fans of offal, but for some strange reason this restriction is relaxed for yakitori, Japanese grilled chicken. At any yakitori joint, you'll find skewers of skin (kawa), cartilege (nankotsu), liver (reba), heart (hatsu), tongue (tan), intestines (shiro) and the mysterious part known only as head meat (kashira)...

...which, in retrospect, should have prepared me for kinkan: chicken ovaries. This is a bit of a rarity, partly because you have to disembowel two chickens to get one stick's worth, but it's worth looking out for. The ovary itself is a scrawny runt of an organ that tastes just like chicken; perhaps more interesting is that there is usually a half-developed egg still attached, with no shell and the egg white and yolk still undifferentiated, making it a yummy treat.

Incidentally, kinkan also means kumquat, so being offered kinkan ice cream is not necessarily reason to run away screaming. (At least until you find out which ingredient they're using. This is less funny than it might seen: Japan is not only the country of the squid pizza, but also the country of egg, wasabi and natto-flavored ice cream...)

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