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Fukuoka Fish Market

March 2021

MADAI - Red Sea Bream

This is a fish that has been favored by the Japanese for generations. It can be enjoyed by preparing it as shimokawa zukuri or marbling the skin by torching or pouring hot water over 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 out of this world.

  SAYORI - Halfbeak

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

SAKURAMASU - Cherry Salmon

Cherry salmon announces the arrival of Spring. After swimming in 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 it has been frozen.

AKAMUTSU - Blackthroat

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

KINMEDAI – Alfonsino

Each Alfonsino that has matured in the Japanese currents has been caught by hand. Alfonsino caught and carefully handled by fishers on small boats are bought at auction and shipped directly to the U.S.

AMADAI – Japanese Tilefish

A white fish that is soft and juicy 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 distinct flavor accompanied by a sweet fragrance when frying the skin. 

KUE - Longtooth Groupe

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

MEDAI – Japanese Butterfish

A fish that is relatively easy to cook thanks to the soft bones and small scales. Not overly fishy despite the price point with ample umami; it is a fish that is perfect for various dishes such as sweet-boils or nabe style because the meat does not contract and stiffen when heated.

KASAGO - Marbled Rockfish

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

HOUBOU - Sea Robin

This fish is caught year-round. Between November and February, this fish is at its most delicious due to the additional marbling. Despite being a white fish, the marbling masks the otherwise bland flavor making it perfect for sweet-boils, grilling, and even serving raw.

SUZUKI - Japanese Sea Perch

Normally, Japanese Sea Perch is considered a fish of early Summer. However, this year the catches started arriving much sooner. Often prepared as Arai or a broiled dish, it is also commonly used in French cuisine. The un-fishy flavor is sure to be a pleaser.

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 bream. We recommend serving this fish as Matsukawa Zukuri (immediately cooling the fish after dousing the skin with hot water), leaving the well-marbled skin intact.

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 to 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).

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 firm meat. Wild-caught Amberjacks are considered high-class fish as they are less often caught than Yellowtail or Yellowtail Amberjacks. Enjoy this delicacy as sushi, sashimi, shabushabu, and even teriyaki.

YAZU/INADA - Young Yellowtail

A young Yellowtail, the names of 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.

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.


Catches have arrived earlier than in previous years, and we are starting to see those from Wakayama and Tsushima in the Fukushima market. The current catch is characteristic of having little marbling in the red meat with a more refreshing taste and searing and preparing them as tataki draws out the fresh flavor even more. It is worth giving it a try.

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 Bonito and Spanish Mackerel, doesn't have the iron scent unique to Bonito and is exceptionally flavorful with umami. We can ship to you directly from the Fukushima market, 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.

KONOSHIRO - Gizzard Shad

Gizzard shads are considered to be in their peak season between late Fall and Winter. It is a crucial topping for sushi that holds the success of the restaurant in its preparation. There is a saying In Edo-styled sushi that states, "sushi stops at Kohada (shad), as the amount of salt and vinegar used showcases the skills of the chefs.

INA SABA - Mackerel (Wild)

Only those Mackerel, found in the Tsushima waters, which 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, have been cooled in ice and water for more than 6 hours immediately after catching, and are selected by size so that they make a box weighing around 5kg.

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 the liver-soy sauce on the sashimi by boiling and melting the liver into the soy sauce.

UMAZURAHAGI - Black Scraper

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 the 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.

USUBAHAGI - Unicorn Leatherjacket

These are large fish that grow to 50-50cm in size. They are reasonably priced for their size with white meat that pairs well with oil, lending it to be used in Western cuisine as well. They are a useful fish for Japanese pubs due to their large size and affordable price compared to filefish and scraper.

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" a seasoned and pickled dish marinated with vinegared miso or as tempura.

YARI-IKA - Spear Squid

Sear squid is caught in masses between the Winter and Spring when they come towards the shore for spawning. There is a saying that says, "sword tip squid in Summer, sear squid in the winter." The most popular is the large sear squid that is caught between Winter and Spring that is 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. July sees the young Cuttlefish's emergence and peak while the parent cuttlefish reach their peak in early Spring. Compared to the young Cuttlefish that are attractive for their crunchiness, the supple texture and sweetness combined with umami are the claim to the older Cuttlefish's fame. Sashimi is a favorite, but tempura is also a delicious preparation.

AORI-IKA - Bigfin Reef Squid

Aoriika is known as the king of squids, and its sashimi is considered 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 and texture. It is a trendy and crucial item used in Edomae style sushi and tempura.

HIRAMASA - Yellowtail Amberjack

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

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