Shiroebi/White Shrimp

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Shiroebi or White Shrimp is not as known as other shrimp/prawn varieties. However it is a very popular crustacean in Japanese cuisine.
Also known under the the names of “Shiraebi, Hirataebi and Bekkoebi”, it is mainly caught between depths of 40 and 200 metres off the coasts of Toyama Bay on the other side of Japan and Suruga Bay in Shizuoka Prefecture.
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It is mainlly served a sashimi with some ponzu and grated fresh ginger
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as “gunkan” topped with a dash of grated fresh ginger.
It is possible to serve it as “nigiri”, although one would need large specimen, as the usual length is only 7 cm.
We are just in season as Shiroebi appears on our tables between April and November in many guises:
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The picture above shows on the right the shiroebi in its natural flesh whereas on the left it has been kept between two sheets of wetted seaweed for a while as “kombu-jime”, another very popular way to prepare all kinds of sashimi/sushi.
White Shrimps also enter in the preparation of a kind of “Tamagoyaki”/Japanese Omelette when they are first processed into a paste and mixed thoroughly with beaten eggs, sieved and then cooked.
The Japanese also love them as soft sembei/rice crckers.
The annual catch has exceeded 600 tonnes in recent years, half of them in Toyama.
They are also exported whole.

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Marine products: the bright side and the dark side

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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The bright side:
“Taka Ashi Gani” (“Tall Leg Crab”), the largest crab in the world found in Suruga Bay, notably off the northwestern part of Izu peninsula has significantly in numbers in recent years.
Fishermen realized they were catching to many young specimen in the deep sea nets. They decided to preserve the caught crabs and with the help of Heda Marine Association taught local children about the importance to preserve marine resources and replenish existing stocks when they show the crabs to the kids every year before releasing them back to depths of 500 metres about one kilometre off Heda Harbour.

The dark side:
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Poachers have increasingly caught “uni” (sea urchins) and “namko” (Sea slug/beche de mer) and the Japanese had to take drastic measures with boat confiscations, heavy fines (between 100,000 yen and 2,000,000 yen) and even prison sentences.
Sea urchins will find high prices on the Japanese markets while China and Hong Kong have an unquenchable craving for sea slugs.
Both command higher and higher prices, due to the decreasing catches and measures to preserve stocks.
As an indication, illegal poaching cases increased from over 900 in 2002 to more than 1,200 in 2004 and still on the way up!
On the other hand the legal export of sea slugs has increased by 43.5 % from 2004 to 2005 to reach 7,900,000,000 yen in sales of which China’s share amounts to 520,000,000 yen, an increase of 60% in one single year.
The total illegal catch was 32 tonnes last year in Hokkaido.

Sashimi Set: Bu-Ichi

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Above is the picture of a sashimi set I ordered yesterday (May 20th) at Bu-Ichi Restaurant, a very popular izakaya of above-average level.

The sashimi is:
Front row, left to right: “aji” (saurel), “medai” (seabream), “ika” (squid), “maguro” (tuna)
Back row, left to right: “katsuo” (bonito), “shime saba” (mackerel), “hokkigai” (surf clam), “torigai” (large cockle)

Bu-Ichi
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-10, Dai 2 Matsunaga Bldg, 2F
Tel.: 054-252116
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advised

Restaurant: Sushi Ko

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Last Thursday (May 17th), my better (worse?) half and I thought it was about hight time to pay a visit to our favourite Sushi Restauarant In Shizuoka City, namely Sushi Ko (not to be confused with its parent establishment in Tamachi).
The main reasons why it is our favourite is because:
1) the fish and all food are of superior quality
2) the prices are clearly posted up
3) it has sake and shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture.
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Asit is still the season we started with katsuo sashimi (bonito) for which our Prefecture is so famous. Very fatty and tender!
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There is plenty of staffon hand at Sushi Ko who can prepare and also cook. We could not resist ordering the deep-fried tuna cubes served with ponzu and momiji oroshi!
Now for sake lovers, Sushi Ko has the following Shizuoka Jizake among its list:
Kan (hot): Fujinishiki Honjoozo (extravagant for a hot sake!)
By the glass: Isojiman Honjozo, Shosetsu Tokubetsu Honjozo, Kikuyoi Junmai, & Kokkou Ginjo
300 ml bottles: Fujinishiki Junmai Ginjo, Masuichi Ginjo
And one superlative kome/rice shochu, Fuji no Shizuku by Fujinisiki!
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For all his easy-going atmsphere, Sushi Ko is also a truly gastronmic establishment which serves such delicacies as Sakura/Horsemeat (see above picture), shika/Venison and Kujira/whale.
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As they have their own extensive network throughout Japan, they will come out with Botan Ebi (see picture above) and rarities such as Hakkaku/Sanborer from Hokkaido
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The “maki” fans will be happy to learn that Mr. Oda, The “chief” of the place is areal artist: I recommend his piquant scallops maki covered with tobiko/flying fish roe!
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Check out for the seasonal fish! We had among others tai/seabream. A feast!
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And for “dessert”, you must try the Tamagoyaki made by the parent establishment in Tamachi. I very much doubt you will find better in town!

Sushi Ko
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae Cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 on Sundays
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advised
Credit Cards OK

Homepage (Japanese)

Botanebi/”Botan” Prawn

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Botanebi/”Botan” Prawn, or “Pandalus nipponesis” for the specialists, is a large prawn found in all seas of Japan at depths varying from 300 to 500 metres. They are caught at 200~300 metres depth in Suruga Bay and along the WEstern coast of Izu Peninsula In Shizuoka Prefecture. Once abundant, they have become scarce and only small specimen are found whereas Hokkaido produces up to 20cm-long prawns.
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They are known under different names: toyamaebi and Kijiebi.
It is not a cheap morsel in Sushi bars. But it is interesting to note they are essentially eaten raw as like “amaebi”, they become very sweet after some time in the refrigerator.
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Now, if you are lucky enough to find them fresh with their eggs, ask your chef to dress them as above, or even better, put the eggs on top of a “gunakan nigiri”!
Incidentally, botanebi change sex (gender) with age to end up as big juicy females!

Squilla: Shako

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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The Squilla or “Shako” is a delicacy that appears on the sushi bar counters from April to Summer, although different varieties can be found in Hokkaido markets (Otaru City in particular) almost all year round.
You will discover under names such as “shaku” and “Gazaebi”.
They are actually caught in almost all Japanese seas, but the best are supposed to originate from Hokkaido.
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Like any crustaceans, they can be eaten in many ways.
The Japanese favour the small kind with a violet back. I have had to buy some very large specimen in Otaru, and just boiled to eat them with rice vinegar mixed a little Japanese mustard or in salad.
They almost disappeared from Tokyo Bay in the 1960’s but reappeared in the 1970’s. Most fishermen in the Kanto area will place them in boxes themselves to sell them directly at fish markets. The market value can vary wildly, but look for the genuine harbour markets and buy them yourself.
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Naturally, they are most popular as nigiri sushi. Customers jokingly ask for “garage” (in English) as “shako” also means (different kanji, of course) “garage”!

Tuna Species 6: Mekajiki/Marlin

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Strictly speaking, marlins are only a different branch from tuna, but as it is so often offered as a substitute for true tuna, I decided to introduce it as such.
There are many types of marlins all over the world, but the most commonly caught and eaten is “Mekajiki”/Big-eye Marlin.
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It is found in various supermarkets and cheap izakaya. Still it is a very popular as sashimi as well as grilled fish. Even in my home country it is served as “Carpaccio”.
It is caught all around Japan from Atumn to Winter.
It is also called “Meka” in Tokyo or “Mesara” in Kanagawa Prefecture.
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Sashimi varieties came in two main kinds: “kuro” and “shiro” (see pics above)
“Makajiki” (“true marlin”) is peach pink while “Mekajiki” (“big-eye marlin”) is of a whitish orange.
More than 1,000 tonnes are caught off Japan, whereas imports amount to more than 1,100 tonnes.
In Europe and America it is paopular as canned food or grilled.
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One can enjoy it as cheap “nigiri” in sushi restaurants.
Fresh marlin should be shiny and show veins bright red.
It is mainly caught at night as it wswims near the surface then.