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Fukuoka Fish Market

March 2022

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MADAI - Red Seabream

This is a fish that has been favored by Japanese from long ago. It can be enjoyed by preparing it as shimokawa zukuri or marbling the skin by torching or pouring hot water so that the flavor of the fat beneath the skin can be showcased for sushi or sashimi. Although farm raised varieties have become popular lately, it is said that wild red sea bream is of another world.

SAYORI  – Halfbeak

Known as the “beautiful fish that tells of the arrival of Spring,” Halfbeak are a high-quality white fish that are in their peak season from late-Fall through Spring. They can also be enjoyed in early Fall. Perfect for preparing in thin slices that showcase the translucent meat, of course, you can enjoy it as a sushi topping in the silver-skin variety.

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SAKURAMASU – Cherry salmon

Cherry salmon announces the arrival of spring. After swimming the ocean, the cherry salmon return to the rivers where they were born. They are thought to have gotten their name because their return coincides with the cherry blossom season and the meat being cherry in color. Soft in texture with strong umami and sweetness, if enjoying them raw, please do so after freezing them once.

AKAMUTSU – Blackthroat

Blackthroat caught in the jigokunawa (ropes of hell) fishing method from Iki in Tsushima are called Benihitomi. They are the king of blackthroats due to their superior freshness and marbling.

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KINMEDAI – Alfonsino

Each Alfonsino that has matured in the Japanese current have been caught by hand. Alfonsinos caught and carefully handled by fishermen on small boats are bought on auction and shipped directly to the U.S.

AMADAI – Japanese Tilefish

A white fish that is soft and juicy, it requires delicate handling as it can easily lose its shape despite being moderately fibrous. It is customary to cook after draining the meat of excess water. It presents its own distinct flavor accompanied by a sweet fragrance when frying the skin.

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KUE – Longtooth grouper
KUE – Longtooth grouper

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KUE – Longtooth grouper

Very few catches circulate the markets and wild-caught Longtooth grouper are considered a super high-class fish. It is a fish that maintains a consistent flavor year-round, but as you well know, they are especially enjoyable in nabe-pot dishes during the cold season.

MEDAI – Japanese butterfish

Very few catches circulate the markets and wild-caught Longtooth grouper are considered a super high-class fish. It is a fish that maintains a consistent flavor year-round, but as you well know, they are especially enjoyable in nabe-pot dishes during the cold season.

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KASAGO – Marbled Rockfish

Caught throughout the year and delicious in all seasons, seasonal language designates this as a Spring fish. Called arakabu in Fukuoka, people especially like to prepare it as a sweet-boil. Despite the extremely delicately flavored meat being prone to losing its freshness, we will deliver it to you directly from the Fukuoka Market while it is still fresh.

SUZUKI – Japanese Seabass

Normally, Japanese sea perch is considered a fish of early Summer. However, this year the catches started arriving much sooner than in the years passed. Often prepared as arai or a broil, it is also commonly used in French cuisine. The un-fishy flavor is sure to be a pleaser.

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HOUBOU – Sea Robin

This fish is caught year-round and maintains its flavor throughout. Especially the months between November and February are most delicious due to the additional marbling. Despite being a white fish you the marbling masks the otherwise bland flavor making this fish perfect for sweet-boils, grilling, and even raw.

MEJINA – Largescale blackfish

Compared to the Largescale blackfish that are caught in the summer, those in the winter are in their prime with added marbling and less fishiness. The crunchy texture of the meat is said to be levels above red sea bram. We recommend serving this fish as matsukawa zukuri, leaving the well-marbled skin intact.

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TACHIUO – Beltfish

Although the spawning season for beltfish is between June and October and it is said that they are most tasty during that time, they grow even bigger from Fall through Winter and gain marbling, lending to even more flavor.  

KURODAI – Black Bream

In Fukuoka, Black bream (kurodai) is called metai or chinu depending on its size. When the length exceeds 30cm, they are called chinu. Black bream, which is now in season, is considered equal in flavor to red sea bream. It is even called “pot-breaking chinu” because people want to eat it even if the pot breaks (from poking it too much with chopsticks from being overcome by deliciousness).

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ITOYORI – Threadfin bream

The brilliant pink meat not only is delicious but also adds a burst of color to the cuisine, especially delicious when marbled by flash-boiling with hot water. The perfect amount of fibrous texture of this white fish lends to a perfect bite. Go light if sweet-boiling or go for preparation methods such as soups that accentuate the delicate flavor. Those caught in Ogi, Yamaguchi Prefecture are the best during this season.

KANPACHI – Amberjack

The big-three of buri are yellowtail, yellowtail amberjack, and amberjack. Among them, the amberjack may have the least marbling but still possesses a fine flavor and tight meat. Wild-caught amberjacks are considered to be high-class fish as they are less-caught than yellowtail or yellowtail amberjacks. Enjoy this delicacy as sushi, sashimi, shabushabu, and even teriyaki.

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YAZU/INADA – Young Yellowtail

A young yellowtail, the names given to this fish vary by region. It is light and fresh in flavor compared to fatty yellowtail and is characterized by its firm meat. More reasonable in cost, it can be enjoyed as sashimi, teriyaki or as fritters.

HIRAMASA – Yellowtail Amberjack

Not as fatty as yellowtail but more so than amberjacks with added umami, you can enjoy the crunchy texture of this fish when fresh. If you let it sit for a day, it will develop a round flavor.

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SAWARA – Spanish Mackerel

As described in the characters, Spanish mackerel is a Spring fish. In western Japan, it is said that the approaching Spring is the best season to enjoy it. Fresh Spanish mackerel can be widely enjoyed  as sashimi, saikyozuke (pickling in Kyoto-style miso)  or reianyaki grill.

HONGATSUO – Bonito

Catches have arrived earlier than previous years and we are starting to see those from Wakayama and Tsushima in the Fukushima market. The current catch is characteristic for having little marbling in the red meat with a more refreshing taste. Searing them and preparing them as tataki draws out the fresh flavor even more. Why not give it a try?  

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HAGATUO – Skipjack

Skipjack is spectacular when enjoyed as tataki as searing the skin draws out a fragrant aroma. The red meat of striped bonito, in the middle between those of bonito and Spanish mackerel, doesn’t have the iron scent unique to bonito and is especially flavorful with umami. Maximizing the proximity to the breeding waters, the Fukushima market will ship directly to the U.S., preserving the fresh quality.

SUMA – Black Skipjack

Black Skipjacks are enjoyed mainly in Western Japan as sashimi, salt-grill, sweet-boils and fritters. Though it is delicious all-year long, they are especially delectable during their peak season from Fall through Spring. You will feel the slight acidity and marbling that melts in your mouth when enjoying it as sashimi.

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KONOSHIRO – Gizzard Shad
KONOSHIRO – Gizzard Shad

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KONOSHIRO – Gizzard Shad

The best season for Konoshiro (kohada) in Fukuoka is from fall to winter. Konoshiro is a very important ingredient in Edomae style sushi. It’s not bad to say that a sushi chef’s skill can be measured by the taste of his Konoshiro nigiri sushi.

INA SABA– Mackerel (Wild)

Only those mackerel, among those native to the nutritious Tsushima waters, who meet rigorous criteria of those caught in the Ina fishing port are called Ina Saba (mackerel). Standards include that they are caught on a single line, have no scratches on their bodies, cooled in ice and water for more than 6 hours immediately after catching, and selected by size so that they make a box weighing around 5kg.

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KAWAHAGI – Filefish

Although it is a delicious fish all year round, the flavor is extraordinary between Fall and Winter when the marbled white meat melds beautifully with the liver. It is also delicious to use liver-soy sauce on the sashimi by boiling and melting the liver into the soy sauce.

UMAZURAHAGI – Black scraper

Fall would be the best if enjoying this fish because the meat has recovered, and the liver has fattened. The sizes are starting to increase now, too.

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USUBAHAGI – Unicorn leatherjacket

Although the meat is most flavorful between the end of Summer through Fall, the liver increases in size during late Fall through Spring, creating a school of thought that considers the cold season to be the peak for black scraper. Fall would be the best if enjoying this fish because the meat has recovered, and the liver has fattened. The sizes are starting to increase now, too.

HOTARU-IKA – Firefly squid

It has been enjoyed as a seasonal food to eat during spring in Toyama and Hyogo Prefectures. Please enjoy as "okizuke" which is a type of seasoned and pickled dish, marinated with vinegared miso, or as tempura.

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YARI-IKA – Spear Squid

Spear squid are caught in masses between the Winter and Spring when they come towards the shore for spawning. There is a saying that says, “swordtip squid in Summer, sear squid in the winter.” The most popular are the large sear squid that are caught between Winter and Spring that are filled with young

KO-IKA – Cuttlefish

Known as sumiika in the Kanto area, this is an ingredient that is indispensable in Edo-style sushi or tempura. Because it is so popular as a sushi topping and sushi restaurants seeking them at once, it is a superior item that can reach up to 20,000 yen per kilo when in season. 

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AORI-IKA – Bigfin reef squid

Aoriika is known as the king of squids, and its sashimi is considered to be of the finest quality in the squid family. Its flesh is rich in sweetness and is very soft but also has a good amount of strength in texture. It is a very popular and crucial item used in Edomae style sushi and tempura.