Appreciating the Yellowtail: by Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

The Amazing Yellowtail (aka Hamachi)

The name yellowtail can be confusing because it can apply to flounder, tuna and sole. However, yellowtail is the common name for some species of amberjack (sometimes referred to as yellowtail amberjack) that can be found off both coasts of the US. The fish is called so because of the corresponding color of its fins. Its large sleek body resembles that of a tuna; it is a heat-loving, schooling fish that can grow to one meter in length and weigh up to 10 pounds. The yellowfin lives mainly in East Asia, around Korea and Japan.

The most valuable member of this family is the yellowtail farmed in Japan and featured in U.S. sushi bars under the name hamachi. The fish is prized for eating raw and commands a premium price in Japanese markets. Raised in cages in Japan’s Inland Sea, hamachi are harvested at 15 to 20 pounds, then iced and handled with great care to prevent bruising of the flesh, which lowers its value as sashimi. A small amount of hamachi is harvested wild off the coast of central Japan.

Another yellowtail species (Seriola lalandei) is harvested wild off southern California and Baja, California and farmed in Mexico and Australia. While amberjacks are subject to parasite infestation in the wild, this is not a problem with farmed hamachi. The Stehr Group in South Australia is presently (2010) the largest producer of cultured S. lalandi in the world. Most cultured S. lalandi is sold to the Japanese restaurant market for consumption as sashimi and sushi.

This freshwater fish is valuable, especially in Japan where it is also used for canned food, and is specifically grown for aquaculture. Farmed yellowtail is consistently light colored because it is high in fat. Yellowtail fillets can have a dark muscle line along the edge. Cooked meat is white and firm with a sweet, mild flavor. The high oil content gives the flesh a buttery texture.

The fish contains many health-giving nutrients: vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, K, micro- and macro elements, as well as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Hence, it is beneficial in conditions as metabolic disorders, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, high blood pressure. It is also recommended to use for prevention of atherosclerosis. However, yellowtail is very oily and so best consumed in small quantities.

Prime and Safe-to-Eat Hamachi

Enjoy Aji Sushi’s yellowtail, both as sashimi or in sushi and in our other selections. There is no mistaking its buttery texture and value content. We offer only primed and safe to eat hamachi in Issaquah.