Updated: November 30, 2016
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Guide To Eating 6 Delicious Fishes In Japan

Surrounded by crystal-blue seas, Japan enjoys an abundant supply of fishes. Not to mention her sophisticated processing techniques that ensure that fishes stay fresh! Let's learn about 6 yummy fishes:

1. Hirame (flounder)

Widely regarded as the topmost quality white fish, hirame (flounder) is packed full of vitamins and minerals. In particular, ladies are drawn to how its fin muscles contain collagen, which is the all-important ingredient to rejuvenate their skin! Hirado Town in Nagasaki Prefecture is the place to go if you want to enjoy juicy hirame during the catching season from January to early April.

Aside from sashimi and sushi, hirame is used to make the well-loved dish, flounder meunière, where the flagrant butter accentuates the umami of the hirame. It can be used for shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) and ochazuke (green tea over rice) as well.
Hirame flatfish back https://goo.gl/pVwQ1j
Keep your skin in tip-top condition with hirame

2. Buri (yellowtail)

Buri (yellowtail) is a prized ingredient in the diet of Japanese people. In fact, people living in Kansai eat buri as part of their oshogatsu (New Year) meal! As buri fishes get fat to prepare themselves for the spawning season in fall and winter, they gain a lot of fat and become super delicious when eaten in winter.

In order to fully appreciate the succulent fat of buri, consider making buri teriyaki whereby the buri is marinated in an exquisite sweet sauce. To make this sweet sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, sake, mirin, and 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar thoroughly in a bowl. Your taste buds will thank you for the effort!
Japanese yellowtail teriyaki by dishhh https://goo.gl/Q9agYP
Buri teriyaki, an essential item in the repertoire of Japanese mums' cooking!

3. Saba (mackerel)

Boosting a high percentage of EPA omega-3 fatty acids, saba helps prevent you from getting high blood pressure and heart disease. Like buri, saba is best eaten during autumn and winter as this is the period when they get fat. When choosing saba fish, be sure to select the larger ones with glossy skin and clear, shiny eyes as these are generally of better quality.

To savor the umami of saba, try simmering it in salty-sweet miso sauce. This sauce will bring out the bold and rich taste of saba. Of course, you may grill it and douse it with salt as well so as to appreciate its oily texture and firm flesh!
Saba no nitsuke 20101113 https://goo.gl/p4VQuT
Enjoy the unparalleled harmony of fleshy saba and thick miso sauce

4. Tai (red sea bream)

Tai (red sea bream) not only captures your attention with its beautiful red skin, but it also still tastes delectable, even if it slightly loses its freshness. Another advantage is that since its spawning season varies from the northern to southern parts of Japan, this means that you can tuck into tai, regardless of when you visit the country!

Tai can either be enjoyed raw as sashimi or paired with rice to yield mouthwatering tai sushi. If you get the chance to visit Mie prefecture, don't miss out on their signature delicacy - steamed tai with Aosa seaweed sauce. A hearty feast to recharge yourself!
Red sea bream https://goo.gl/auZgoh
Be it raw or cooked, tai tastes great

5. Sanma (Pacific saury)

A popular seasonal fish in autumn, sanma is known to taste so delicious then that frozen sanma caught in-season costs higher than fresh sanma caught off-season!

Another interesting fact: unlike other fishes, the internal organs of sanma are not removed when it is grilled. This is because sanma is digestible in one's stomach within 30 minutes, so it is okay to devour it - internal organs and all. Eating the internal organs means that sanma can come across as bitter, which makes it an excellent complement to Japanese sake.

One more way to enjoy sanma is to deep fry it. Crispy and juicy sanma tatsuta age (fried Pacific saury) tastes heavenly with warm rice and miso soup!
Fish on dish %2814967972879%29 https://goo.gl/SCqAZt
Sanma is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D

6. Sawara (Spanish mackerel)

Sawara is another top quality fish which tastes exceptionally good in spring. Enjoy its soft and tender meat, particularly the tail end which is considered to be the most scrumptious.

As for cooking methods, spread saikyo miso over the sawara before grilling it gently. The sweet and pale saikyo miso pairs really well with sawara's soft texture. Or you can make appetizing sawara yuan yaki, in which you dip the sawara into a soy sauce-based seasoning enhanced with yuzu skin before grilling it. Itadakimasu!
Congealed gelatin of boiled fish %28japanese spanish mackerel%29 https://goo.gl/CWKs2X
Winning combination of soy sauce seasoning and sawara!
Armed with the knowledge of these six fishes' characteristics as well as their health benefits and recommended ways to eat them, you will not be lost the next time you venture into one of Japan's fish markets. Hope this article enhances your enjoyment of Japan's delicacies from the sea!

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