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Fukuoka Fish Market

October 2020


The delicious ‘returning’ Bonito (Bonito that’s returning southward in the fall/winter after having gone north in the Spring) season has arrived with the fall season upon us. Returning Bonito have had ample food to eat, offering plenty of fatty meat, called “torogatsuo” (fatty-Bonito). Enjoy the different flavors Bonito offers between the light, fresh early Bonito (spring/summer season), and the rich, buttery flavor of returning Bonito.


HAGATSUO - Skipjack

Fall is the season for good Skipjack. The fragrance and taste when grilling the skin is rich and incredibly delicious when braised. The red meat, comparable to a cross between Japanese Spanish mackerel and bonito without the metallic aftertaste, combined with the umami, provides a unique flavor. Fukuoka markets offer fresh shipping to the US by capitalizing on their proximity to the fisheries.

INA-SABA - Mackerel (Wild)

Ina-Saba is a brand of Japanese Mackerel caught in the rich sea of the Tsushima area. Only selected pieces are picked for the Ina-Saba brand, according to the following strict standards:

1) caught by pole-and-line; 2) no scratches on the body; 3) more than 6 hours cooling time immediately after harvest; 4) size.

SAWARA - Japanese Spanish Mackerel

Although known as a mainstay Spring fish, ‘cold’ Japanese Spanish Mackerel caught in the fall and winter are tasty due to their marbling. They are delicious as sashimi and exquisite when grilled. There are many styles of preparation. For example, Yuan Yaki, with the hint of pomelo flavoring, Saikyo Zuke using sweet Kyoto miso, meuniere, and frying, are popular. Of course, an especially fresh catch can be enjoyed as sushi or sashimi.

TSURI AJI - Horse Mackerel

Fall is the best season to find quality ‘Tsuri’ (hook and line fishing) horse mackerel in the markets. As you know, they are the most pristine horse mackerel. Fishermen catch each fish individually, and then they are processed by thoroughly letting out the blood.

SANMA - Pike Mackerel

Unfortunately, this year doesn’t promise large mackerel in volumes. The Mackerel are small in size, and the price is getting a little lower. We deliver fresh fish by air directly from the production area. 

KINMEDAI - Alfonsino

The north-flowing “Kuroshio” ocean current brings a rich ocean harvest to Tosashimizu City in the southeastern part of Kochi, Japan. Fishermen on small boats catch Kinmedai one by one with fly fishing gear. The fish are handled very carefully, and on the evening of the same day, they’re packed for shipping to US cities.

AKAMUTSU - Black Throat

“Benihitomi” is a brand name of Akamatsu, a fish caught in the oceans of the Tsushima and Iki Island area by the “Jigokunawa” fishing method. “Benihitomi” is called the “King of Akamutsu.” 

MEDAI - Blue Nose

Japanese Blue Nose are caught all-year-long with differing seasons depending on the localities. Around October, the pre-spawning season is considered to be the best season for Blue Nose in Fukuoka, and the Sanin Region as the fish has ample marbling. While fresh and fatty Japanese Blue Nose is good for sashimi, carpaccio and kobujime (tying with kombu kelp for flavor) are also very tasty. Japanese Blue Nose is a fish enjoyed in many ways, including grilling and Saikyo-zuke (pickling with sweet Kyoto-style miso). 

KUE - Longtooth Grouper

As you well know, Long Tooth Grouper is considered in the Kyushu area markets to be an extra-high-quality fish due to their flavor and sparse distribution. They have fluffy white meat while their skin is thick and full of collagen. Although they are a fatty fish, they are subtler and lighter than fatty tuna, and when cooked in nabe soups, the collagen mixes with the stock to produce a delicate flavor. The translucent white meat has a firm texture that also lends to a pleasant texture when enjoyed as sashimi. Plentiful marbling makes for a light, refined flavor. 

MAHATA - Grouper

Many types of Grouper can be enjoyed in Kyushu. Seven band Grouper (Mahata) is recommended for this season. Although it’s a fish that is not well-distributed among other markets, it’s often found in Fukuoka markets. The firm texture of the fish is delectably enjoyed as thin-slices.

ITOYORI - Threadfin Bream

The bright pink of this fish adds the color and taste to the sashimi-dish. In Japan, it’s a high-class fish. Sashimi, with firm skin, is ultimately tasty. This fish is useful not only for Japanese foods but also when sauteed with butter or meuniere. 

KAMASU - Japanese Barracuda

The season for Barracuda is between fall and early winter when the marbling is at its best, and in spring when they prey on food and build their strength in preparation for the spawning season. In the fall, barracuda is best enjoyed grilled or as sashimi. Don’t miss this chance to try them if you haven’t yet. 

TACHIUO - Beltfish

The spawning season for beltfish is between June and October when the catches are at their peaks. The best time for enjoying them is also said to be during this time. Nevertheless, it’s also noted that the period when they are growing and storing fat in preparation for winter is also a time when their flavor becomes even more impressive.

KAWAHAGI - Filefish

The taste of filefish is good year-round, but especially in autumn, the best season for this fish. Sashimi with “Kimo-Shoyu” is supremely delicious. “Kimo-Shoyu” is soy sauce  mixed with boiled fish liver. 

AWABI - Abalone

In the Chikuzen-sea, there are three Awabi subspecies.  The most common is the Kuro-Awabi. (Saga, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka: large size is 300g and up). 

YARI-IKA - Spear Squid

Traditionally squid was only fished during the night. With the advent of the vertical long-line fishing method, they are now caught during the daytime during seasons other than summer. Try preparing them as sashimi or tempura. In Fukuoka, still- live (ikizukuri) preparations are preferred.

SUMI-IKA - Golden Cuttlefish

Ko-Ika or “Sumi-Ika” squid in the Kantō region, is a popular and crucial seafood used for Edomae-style sushi and tempura. Due to its popularity, the market price of Ko-Ika is very high and can cost up to $200/Kg at the beginning of its best season. The young squids, called Shin-Ika, reach their best season and get shipped into the market from around July. Later, Ko-Ika will have its best season from late Autumn to early Spring. 

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TACHIUO - Beltfish