Glossary - Ingredients

Sanma/Pacific saury


Pacific saury or sanma, in season between September to November, is one of the most well-known seasonal fish representing autumn in Japanese cuisine. Pacific saury are distributed throughout the coastal region spanning from Japan to North America. These fish that head south along the Sanriku Coast in autumn are preferred for their high unsaturated fat content, but those that appear in southern regions are low in fat with delicate flavor. Pacific saury are also processed into canned, dried, and dried mirin (Japanese sweet liquor seasoning) marinated food products.



Pacific saury are a good source of protein and unsaturated fat. The dark flesh is abundant in vitamin B2 and vitamin D. The fat content contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid said to increase brain activity.

Connoisseur selection / storage

Select Pacific saury that are plump with a firm belly. Those with yellow-tipped tails have a high fat content. As these fish lose freshness quickly, prepare promptly. Frozen storage is possible after removal of innards.

Cooking Tips

Although most often used for sashimi and shioyaki (salt grilled) dishes, Pacific saury is also delicious for kabayaki (grilled after dipping in a sweet soy sauce-based sauce) and marinated dishes.

Cooking Basics

Pacific saury - removing innards

When preparing for use in boiled and other dishes, first remove the innards. After descaling, remove the head from just behind the pectoral fin. Place the tip of the knife into this opening, and scrape out the innards. Be sure to give a final rinse with water and dry off before using.

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