Raw Meat Cakes Are Becoming A Fad In Japan — Prepare To Feast Your Eyes

When most people say they want a beefcake for their birthday, they're usually talking about male strippers. In a turn of events that should make the Ron Swansons of the world swoon, however, there's a chance that these days, someone might mean an actual, literal raw meat cake. Before we dig in to this carnivorous fad, though, a word of warning: The following details are decidedly not vegan-friendly. Proceed with caution.

In Japan, where meat cakes have been rising in popularity in recent years, cuisine is historically dominated by fish and rice due to its abundance of fish and other seafood, but thanks to globalization and the attendant "diet Westernization," Japanese meat consumption has steadily increased over the last few decades. Despite the increasing popularity of pork and beef, many high-quality meats are still considered a luxury in the country — which is what makes meat cakes such a treat, once you get past the whole "raw meat shaped like a flower" deal.

So what makes a meat cake? First of all, it's important to note that "cake" is merely a loose approximation; most basic meat cakes merely take the form of meatloaf or aesthetically-arranged cuts. However, because people love a challenge, other cakes take the form of elaborate, whimsical shapes, often accompanied by a message wishing the recipient well, just like a regular birthday cake.

Others are made to look like actual cakes on the outside, which is a potential friendship-ruining act if I've ever seen one. Can you imagine cutting into a birthday cake only to find that it was full of raw bacon?

I thought an obsession with meat was a uniquely American thing, but clearly, we all have a little Ron Swanson in us. Welcome to the club, Japan!

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