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Help me ID these sashimi fishes

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Help me ID these sashimi fishes

Alice Patis | Mar 24, 2006 05:24 PM

I went to a small sushi restaurant and ordered their sashimi plate for lunch. I expected from the price ($11.50 for 11 pcs) that it would be the usual tuna, salmon, yellowtail. Normally I can tell what's what in a cheap sashimi special, but this time I'm pretty confused. I didn't sit at the bar, so after my meal I asked the itamae to tell me what fish was in my sashimi plate.

Based on his answers, my plate had the following (starting at the top left and going clockwise):
Maguro (tuna)
Sake (salmon)
Hamachi (yellowtail)
Hirame (halibut)

His answers confused me even more. Except the obvious salmon, I can't reconcile his answers with what I ate.

Why is the maguro such a pale color? (it was very soft; could it have been chu-toro instead?)

Is that brownish color normal for Hamachi? I always thought hamachi was cream with sweeps of pink, light red, or brown close to the skin. And the grain pattern of the flesh doesn't seem like hamachi; maybe these were cut from the area close to the tail?

Finally, I always thought hirame was white; these were light tan with tinges of pale red. Also, with a very slight firmer texture, it was the only fish that tasted any different from the other 3 (if you blindfolded me, I would've said I was given only 2 fish).

And does any one have a guess at what kind of salmon that is? It's so lean (no white stripes of fat), and had almost no salmon smell/taste.

I'd like to gain some experience knowing what fish is what, so that I can order a la carte from a sushi bar someday.

Image: http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b39...

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