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Fukuoka Fish Market

October 2021


The delicious “returning” bonito (bonito that is returning southward in the fall/winter after having gone north in the spring) season has arrived with the fall season upon us. Bonito of this season have had ample food to eat, offering plenty of fatty meat, otherwise 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 are rich and incredibly delicious when braised. The red meat, comparable to a mix between Japanese Spanish mackerel and bonito without the metallic aftertaste, combined with the umami, provides a flavor unique to itself. The Fukuoka fish market is well connected with the fisheries and ships their fresh products daily to the US.

INA-SABA - Mackerel (Wild)

Ina-Saba is a brand of Japanese mackerel that is caught in the rich sea of the Tsushima area. Only selected pieces are picked for 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 delicious for their marbling.

It is delicious as sashimi and exquisite when grilled. Vast preparations such as Yuan Yaki with the hint of pumelo flavoring, Saikyo Zuke using sweet Kyoto miso, meuniere, and frying are popular. And fresh catches can be enjoyed as sushi or sashimi as well.

TSURI AJI - Horse Mackerel

This 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 that has been carefully processed after each fish is caught individually.

SANMA - Pike Mackerel 

This year doesn’t promise large volume catches, but some good-sized fish is in the market. As a result, the price will keep going down throughout the season.

KINMEDAI - Alfonsino

The north-flowing “Kuroshio” ocean current brings a rich ocean harvest to Tosashimizu City in the southeastern part of Kochi, Japan. Kinmedai is caught by fly fishing gear, one by one. The fish are handled very carefully, and in the evening of the same day, they are packed for shipping to cities in the USA.

AKAMUTSU - Black Throat

“Benihitomi” is a brand name of akamutsu, 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

Sliced spotted knifejaw is a delicious white-fleshed fish that is very similar to Madai (red sea bream) with a tough and springy texture that makes it very chewy. It also possesses a light fragrance of the ocean when served as sashimi. When the white flesh is dried up, it becomes surprisingly fatty with strong umami, and the taste between the skin and the flesh is particularly delicious.

KUE - Longtooth Grouper

Longtooth Grouper is considered in the Kyushu area to be an extra-high-quality fish due to its flavor and sparse distribution. They have fluffy white meat while their skin is thick and full of collagen. Yet although they are 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 lends to a pleasant texture when enjoyed as sashimi. In addition, their plentiful marbling makes for a light, refined flavor.

MAHATA - Grouper 

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

ITOYORI - Threadfin Bream 

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

KAMASU - Japanese Barracuda

It is fall, and the season is here when we can find Japanese barracuda that is well-marbled. The season for barracuda is known to be between fall and early winter when the marbling is at its best and around the spring when they prey on food and build their strength in preparation for the spawning season. Barracuda during this season can be best enjoyed as grilled or sashimi. So 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. Therefore, the best time for enjoying them is also said to be during this time. Nevertheless, it is also said 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 mixed soy sauce with the boiled fish liver.

AWABI - Abalone

In the Chikuzen-sea, there are three subspecies for Awabi, but the Awabi most harvested out of those three is the Kuro-Awabi. (Saga, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka: large size of 300g and up).

YARI-IKA - Spear Squid

Though traditionally squid was only fished during the night, with the advent of the vertical long-line fishing method, they can now be 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

A type of squid called Ko-Ika, also called “Sumi-Ika” in the Kantō region, is very 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 the season. The young squids, called Shin-Ika, reach their best season and start getting shipped into the market around July. Later, Ko-Ika will have its best season, from late autumn to early spring.

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