Pomfret is not actually a bonito
When many people hear the word of pomfret, they may think that it is a member of the bonito family. However, this “managatsuo”,although it has the word bonito(Katsuo in Japanese) in its name, it is a fish of the perciformes order Pomfridae and has no relation to bonito.
There are various theories, but one is that fishermen in the Seto Inland Sea, where there were no catching of bonito, started calling this pomfret “imitation bonito” because they could catch it during the bonito-catching season, and the other is that pomfret is one of the most delicious fish, so it is called “truly delicious”. There are two origins in which it began to be called “Managatsuo”, which means like “bonito”.
The season for pomfret differs depending on the habitat. In the Seto Inland Sea, their best season is during the spawning season from June to July. On the other hand, in the East China Sea, winter is said the best season because the winter is the peak season for fishing of pomfret and fish is full of meat and fat in winter.
Regarding, the best way to identify a delicious pomfret, it is said that to choose the one that has clear eyes, firm flesh, and bright red gills, which weighs approximately 2 to 3 kg.
Pomfret is especially popular in Kansai region. and is such a high-quality fish that it is served at high-end restaurants in Kyoto. It is said that sashimi is exquisite if it is fresh. And it is delicious as grilled dishes including teriyaki, yuan-yaki, and miso-zuke-yaki. There are many different cooking methods. In addition, its bones are so soft. That so they are eaten as “bone namasu” and “bone crackers”.
Sashimi/boiled/grilled with salt
The above is a cooking method popular in Kansai, but in Kanto it is not so prized and is only recognized as an ingredient for pickled fish for grill. There is a saying that “There are no salmon in the East Japan, and no pomfret in the East.” so pomfret is a fish that has different reputations and cooking methods between the East and the West Japan.
Pomfret, which can only be caught in western Japan, was once rarely eaten in eastern Japan, but it has become a seasonal word. In modern times, where freezing technology has developed, pomfret has become a fish that can be enjoyed even in the Kanto region, and pomfret is said to not lose its flavor even when frozen.
In China, especially in the southern regions, there is a custom of eating pomfret by steaming a whole pomfret and eating it with the family during the Lunar New Year, and we often receive orders from customers in Greater China during that time.
If you find pomfret, please try eating this high-quality fish.
Itabashi Trading Co., Ltd
Mr.TAKAYAMA (Japanese, English, German)
TEL :+81-3-3248-1016（Workday 10:00～17:00）