Sunma is Very popular fish in Japan

Is the ‘Sanma’ you know the supreme Japanese comedian or the seasonal fish known for its superb taste?

End of summer you will start seeing some containers of fresh and fatty Sanma back in the market. Sanma, or Pacific saury, those of overall length of approximately 30 to 35 cm, is a symbol of the approaching autumn.

The Sanma

Although the price can be changeable according to the supply year by year, they are usually inexpensive. The fresh one is the best when it is prepared simply; sprinkle some salt and grill it. Good squeeze of a fresh citron and garnish of grated Daikon radish should not be missed.


Sashimi (neatly cut raw fish) is also a nice option to enjoy this seasonal bearing.
Sanma is almost scale-less and carry very little gut so it’s easy to prepare in your kitchen.

Though sanma in autumn is at its best, you can still enjoy them in the rest of a year. Frozen sanma is available all year round. It’s a little less plump than the fresh but good enough.

You can also find them dried, which has a quite different texture comparing to the fresh fish but it has its own savoury flavour. As dried one is already salted, it’s only to grill.



The pieces of sanma cooked with shoyu (soy sauce) and mirin (sweet rice wine) is another homey dish that you should like to make when you are tired with the grills.

Or dredge the fine cuts with wheat flour and pan-fry.
It’s nice as it is but dipping them into the sweet soy-sauce-based sauce, as described above, will make a popular dish called ‘Kabayaki’.

When you are hungry but not in the mood of cooking, canned kabayaki sanma will be your aid. Place them on the top of plain rice, a simple yet pleasing meal is done.

Whatever you do with sanma, it perfectly matches with plain rice.
Note that the season for sanma is the season for new crop rice!

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Tamaki SAITO(西東たまき)

Born in Tokyo and raised in Chiba prefecture. I'm excited to reveal the Japan's life behind the scenes that you can hardly learn from the regular sources. Let me hear how far it worked from your side!