Sashimi from the fish's head, which is extra-fatty. - Photos RAYMOND OOI/The Star
YOU don’t have to be Japanese to enjoy top-of-the-line tuna. But a little know-how goes a long way
to getting your money’s worth. Here’s an easy-to-follow guide.
Maguro – This word simply means “tuna”. For bluefin tuna, say hon (“real”) maguro. While preferences differ as to which of the three bluefins taste best, most agree that the Pacific bluefin is the blue ribbon of the range. Connoisseurs may argue that wild tuna tastes better, but farmed tuna is clearly the conscientious choice. More support given to sustainable fishery practices may mean the difference between enjoying maguro for years to come as opposed to having none.
Akami – Means “red” and refers to lean red-coloured tuna meat. This is the most common cut and is usually in the medium price range. Akami comes from the top half of the fish, above the spine. There are three different grades of akami, corresponding with the different parts of the fish. Senaka is the middle portion and yields the highest quality akami. Sekami is the front portion and yields medium-quality akami. Meanwhile, the back portion is called seshimo, and yields the lowest quality akami. Be wary of unnaturally bright red akami, because these have probably been treated with carbon monoxide. Though it’s not toxic, meat and fish treated this way looks fresh even after it’s gone off.