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The theme ingredient of young salmon is also known as unisex salmon. It is extremely rare, about one in every 5,000 salmon. The competitors have six unisex fish from the waters of Shiretoko, Hokkaido. Each fish costs around $300 a piece (American).
For today's battle, each contestant gets five carp from Lake Akan. The biggest of the fish are about three feet in length and close to twenty pounds in weight.
There are three kinds of peaches available to the competitors: 50 Hakuhos from Nagano, 20 Shimizu-hakutos from Okayama, and 20 Bantos from Nagano. While two of the varieties are about ten dollars a piece, the Shimizu-hakutos cost close to thirty dollars for each fruit.
Asako Kishi, a regular on the program, does not appear as a judge in this episode. Instead, she brought the challenger to the attention of the Chairman and is sponsoring his battle.
The contestants have access to 60kg of potatoes from Nagasaki prefecture. Since, they are newly harvested, they are designated "new potatoes."
The challenger's mother defeated Iron Chef Chen when she battled him.
The Chefs have 100 Sweetfish from Shizuoka region available. Sweetfish is comparable to a small river trout.
We learn that the Challenger has taken part in 160 previous battles in Kitchen Stadium, compared to the Iron Chef's 4 previous battles.
The secret ingredient, Mishima beef, is raised on a small island off of Japan. Only 20 heads were available this season. It's also called the best Kobe beef in the world. Each head cost 12,000 dollars a piece, so the amount of beef is limited for the battle (fillet, sirloin, ribs).
Although four Iron Chefs are shown in the opening credits, the challenger is only given the choice between three of the Iron Chefs. Iron Chef Italian is not introduced by Kaga for her to choose.
The chefs have two types of Konnyaku to work with: black and white. Kannyaku is a potato starch product with a jelly-like texture. It is a purely Japanese ingredient and has a no Chinese equivalent. Thus, making it a real challenge for the two Chinese masters.
The Iron chef has to stand on mixing bowls to gain enough height to chop the meat properly.
Kaga summons the ingredient for the overtime battle, but does not announce what it is. That will be revealed on the next episode.
There are two pork belly cuts available to the chefs: 4 with skin and 6 without skin.
Although Iron Chef Italian is in the opening credits, he is not one of the choices for the challenger.
Iron Chef Morimoto's Smoked Asparagus Stick Salad was over-smoked and widely criticized by the judges. Chairman Kaga later named it as one of the three worst dishes ever in the 2000th dish episode.
Kaga offers the chefs two types of the theme ingredient: 200 stalks of white asparagus from France and 150 stalks of green asparagus from Japan. But, the choice is even more complicated as fat stalks are female and thin stalks are male.
Despite Kobe being included in the opening credits, he is not included as a choice for the challenger.
There are two varieties of mangoes available for the battle: 100 Mexican mangoes and 80 Philippine mangoes.
Kitchen Stadium has been specially decorated for this battle with cacti and Mexican flags.