"The abrupt, searingly tart, tangy, salty taste jolts the eyes open, shakes the stomach awake, sandpapers off any staleness from the taste buds” is how Japan food expert Robbie Swinnerton describes them.
Legend has it Samurai warriors were fuelled by them when heading into battle, while modern day party goers might swear by them as the ultimate hangover cure.
These days you're just as likely to find them on fine dining menus, where they're kicking up the mayonnaise at the Modern Pantry and the brine is a secret cocktail ingredient.
We can only be talking the powerful potent weapon that is sour plums or umeboshi.
What are Umbeoshi?
Umeboshi are fermented or pickled plums made from young sour Japanese fruit that's a cross between an apricot and a plum, called ume.
After pickling and drying they are then soaked in vinegar, sometimes with shiso leaves, and then aged.
They can be found whole or as an umeboshi paste, or in vinegar form.
Umeboshi: The Energy Food of Warriors
These salty-sweet plums are also thought to have potent medicinal properties from giving samurai warriors an extra energy boost to cold-fighting, combatting hangovers, and generally helping digestion and stave off nausea.
How do you Eat Umeboshi?
Depending on the quality and the occasion, umeboshi can be enjoyed atop rice at any meal in a furikake mix, as one of the tsukemono (Japanese pickles) accompanying a meal, or aged as special occasion delicacies.
They're a welcome addition to bento boxes and can even be popped inside onigiri rice balls,
Umeboshi pastes and vinegars are equally useful for imparting sharp and fruity flavours to dishes and dressings.