I remember the first time I encountered bonito flakes. It was at a sushi restaurant and it was sitting on top of my takoyaki dish. I thought I was going crazy. Here I had a plate of food sitting in front of me and the top had little brown specks waving at me. Was I hallucinating? Did somebody drug my water? What is going on?!
Long story short, bonito flakes (also known as katsuobushi) are made from tuna fish. It has a distinctly strong, smokey flavour and is often used as garnish (as shown above) or to flavour soup stocks.
If you look around online for a video, you will see that these little brown flakes on the top of the dish look like they are alive. However, I can assure you they aren’t. They are thin little shavings that are waving back and forth…but that’s due to the heat from the food!