Kani

Japanese Autumn and Winter Seafood

Autumn and Winter season in Japan is full of fun and excitement. Japan comes alive with a wide variety of colorful festivals, events and celebrations that take place all over the country. Winter illuminations brighten up the evenings to spread more cheer during the holidays. The new Year brings a barrage of happenings to start the year with a bang!

With all the excitement comes delicious food. There are so many seasonal gastronomical delights to try and  autumn and winter is no exception. Check out the delicious autumn and winter seafood to try while in Japan.

Katsuo

Preparing katsuo tataki

Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna)

Skipjack Tuna is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is a popular main dish and is a staple for making soup stock. Katsuo is also often dried, sliced thinly and even made into powder. Katsuo tataki is one of the more popular ways to enjoy the fish. It is seared on the outside and raw on the inside.

Pufferfish (Fugu)

Fugu is popular as chiri nabe (a hot pot dish) and as sashimi. The liver is said to the most flavorful, but it’s also the most poisonous. Japanese law strictly controls the preparation process of fugu, and only qualified and licensed fugu chefs who have undergone this careful training are allowed to prepare pufferfish.

Eating pufferfish, or fugu (河豚 ) in Japanese, may just be one of the thrills in a daring adventure in Japan!

Sanma

Sanma

Sanma (Pacific Saury)

The kanji used for sanma translates as “autumn knife fish”, because of its shape which resembles a katana. The Pacific saury is synonymous to autumn in Japanese cuisine. The fish is rich in fat and a a distinct flavor. It is usually served salted and grilled whole, garnishes with daikon, served with rice and miso soup. The guts of the sanma is bitter but many choose not to remove them and to just balance the bitterness with condiments as part of the enjoyment of the dish.

 Kani (Crab)

Kani is a well-liked winter seafood dish. There are a a lot of variants of crab available during the winter but snow crab is a favorite. Crab is normally served raw as sashimi and a special way to serve it is to pour sake inside the crab to bring out the miso-like flavor.

Hirame sashimi

Hirame sashimi

Hirame (Olive-flounder)

Hirame or Japanese halibut is often called the Japanese flatfish and is the highest valued finfish in the world. Fishing for Olive Flounder is especially abundant in the northern regions of Aomori and Hokkaido but the fish can be found all across Japan’s coast. Hirame is a white fish with a chewy texture and mild flavor. It is popularly served as nigiri-zushi or sashimi.