Hello guys ! Japan is getting cold and it is already autumn.
Autumn is called “autumn of appetite” in Japan, and many delicious ingredients are available, so you can enjoy the season food!
Among them, I will introduce the fish that is essential for Japanese people when it comes to autumn today!
That’s a Pacific saury!
秋刀魚 = Sanma = Pacific saury
秋 = Autumn
刀 = Sword
魚 = Fish
Saury is famous as a representative fish of autumn and its name uses the kanji for “autumn.”.
By the way, the origin of the kanji for Sanma (Pacific saury) is simple, and it came to be written in kanji for ‘Pacific saury’ because you can catch it often in autumn and its thin body looks like a sharp sword like a Japanese sword.
Every Japanese must know the name of saury. As an evidence, in autumn when saury is in season, grilled saury and various dishes using saury are introduced on the news.
However, until the late Edo period, saury was treated as a low-ranking fish that even ordinary people would not eat.
In the Edo period, saury was mainly used only to get fish oil.
Now you might ask, “Don’t you eat such delicious fish?”. However, it was difficult to maintain freshness at that time, and it is thought that ordinary people didn’t have a chance to eat it because of the time and effort of cooking.
As I have already explained, until the Edo period, saury were consumed only to get oil, which even ordinary people did not eat.
However, there is a story that a saury appeared in a famous Rakugo and was highly praised by the lord. This is the story of ‘Meguro Pacific Saury’.
When the lord went out hunting, he was able to catch a lot of prey that day, so it took quite a long time for him to return home. The lord and his retainers could not bear their hunger and approached the nearby common people’s house which smelled good. Apparently, they grill saury in that house and their retainers objected to eating it saying “It’s not the kind of fish a lord would eat.”. However, the lord who was too hungry ate saury despite the opposition of his retainers. Then, the lord liked the taste of the saury, and even after returning to the castle, he prepared and ate the saury.
However, it didn’t taste as good as saury grilled by common people. The saury he ate was from Meguro, and he thought, “Fish grilled by common people in Meguro tastes better than well-cooked saury.”. Then he said,
“The saury is limited to Meguro.”. 秋刀魚は目黒に限る
This story is famous as a fall story called “The saury grilled by common people is more delicious than the one cooked with attention paid to its appearance.”. It’s an interesting story that a high ranking lord didn’t know the taste of fish that common people were eating.
When I lived in Kagoshima pref (southern side of Japan) about 15 years ago , it was hard to find out fresh fresh saury which we can eat by sashimi!
I knew only ‘Grilled saury’ but later it became easy for us to find out fresh saury for sashimi , I heard from fish market people it is because ‘the improvement of transportation’.
Saury is often caught in the northern area of Japan, but I heard that the transportation system to transport it to Kyushu in the southern area while keeping its freshness was established, so saury that can be eaten deliciously as sashimi was distributed.
Also, when you eat grilled saury, please try it without removing the liver (viscera) of saury when you drink shochu.
The umami from the liver is very delicious, and although the smell of fish remains a little, when you drink shochu with hot water, the smell is removed, and the umami of saury and shochu are mixed, and it is very delicious.
When you feel a little bitter, usually we put grated radish next to grilled saury with salt, so it becomes fresh when you eat it with it.
Recently, it is popular to make the shape of grated radish into a ‘’ cat shape.’’
Glocal BAR Vibes / Nori