Sakana (肴) or shukō (酒肴) is a Japanese term referring to food eaten as an accompaniment to alcohol, which originated from the words saka (sake) and na (side dish). Another word for "snack" in Japanese is otsumami (お摘み).[a] Because dried fish and salted fish roe were popular choice for such dishes, over the years the term sakana also came to mean "fish".
In Japan, when alcohol is consumed, it is customary that the drinks are always accompanied with some sort of foodstuff. The term sakana traditionally refer to food served to accompany sake. These are usually quite salty and served in relatively small portions. However, since the 19th century, the market share for Japanese beer has been expanded in Japan, which in 1959 overtook sake as the nation's most popular alcoholic beverage in taxable shipping volume, and at the same time various foods designed to accompany beer have become popular. These dishes, served in restaurant-pubs known as izakaya, are usually more substantial than tapas although they are not considered a meal as such as they do not contain the all-important Japanese rice. Traditionally, the Japanese regarded sake, which is made from rice, as a substitute for white rice served in a standard Japanese meal, and as a result some Japanese do not eat rice and drink alcohol simultaneously.[original research?]
Listed below are some common sakana.