Maguro (tuna) is one of the most popular and delicious foods you can find in Japan. However, did you know there are actually many different kinds of maguro？ We would like to tell you basic information about the most popular 5 types of maguro you can find in Japan. We hope you’ll enjoy lots of maguro on your trip to Japan with following bits of knowledge.
1: Hon-maguro (Bluefin tuna )
This type is the highest quality type of maguro. Hon-maguro contains a lot of otoro, which is the fatty part of the tuna. As it is rich color and taste, Hon-maguro is best type of tuna for sushi. Sometimes, Hon-maguro is called “Black diamond” because of their black body and rarity. This fish has plenty of fat during the coldest period of the year. In the best season, fat is actually found throughout the entire body of the tuna, thus we can taste lean meat and the fatty part of the tuna together. It’s the best type of tuna to taste otoro.
2: Minami-maguro (Southern Bluefin tuna)
Also a high quality type of tuna, this type of maguro contains a lot of otoro and lean meat as well and has a rich taste. It is also suitable for sushi, but it changes its color early. The best season for this type of maguro is in the summer. Its chutoro, or the medium fatty part of the tuna, has a remarkably sweet taste and some prefer minami-maguro over hon-maguro because of this.
3: Mebachi-maguro (Bigeye tuna)
The big eyes of this tuna is where the name of mebachi comes from. (Mebachi means bright and large eyes.) This fish meat has a bright red color, thus many think of this type of maguro when they hear the word “Maguro”. As the price is not very expensive, it is often used for delivery sushi or the cheaper kinds of sushi.
4: Kihada-maguro (Yellofin tuna)
This maguro has a yellow skin and pink, lean meat. As the taste is fresh and meat is tough, kihada-maguro is often used for sashimi. This fish is sold at mass supermarkets because it changes color slowly. The best season for this type of maguro is summer. As the lean meat is a pink color, it looks like the chutoro in hon-maguro or minami-maguro. Though this is the case, please note that this color is not for fat, but for the lean meat.
5: Binchou-maguro (White tuna)
Actually, the taste and flavor of this maguro is weaker in comparison to the other types of maguro. Though this is the case, the belly of a young binchou-maguro has a good amount fat, so this maguro is often used for cheap sushi. The best season for Binchou-maguro is winter. The light pink color looks like otoro, but please note this this is also not fat, but lean meat.
For the best value, we recommend buying cheaper maguro (kihada-maguro or binchou-maguro) at the super market and cooking it at home like maguro steak or Carpaccio. If you are fortunate enough to try high quality maguro, we recommend to taste the natural flavors and fat and eat it as sashimi or sushi.
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