Rockfish

rockfish

Rockfish, or mebaru, is one of the primary fish found in the coastal waters of Japan. Characterized by their large bulged eyes, rockfish are highly prized species. There are a variety of types of rockfish or mebaru in Japan; however, the goldeye rockfish “usu-mebaru” are considered to be the most common in Aomori and the Tohoku region, thus simply referred to as the mebaru.

Goldeye rockfish have a bright orange color. Grown in the resource rich and fast-current ocean, goldeye rockfish from the Tsugaru Strait have superb flesh and are highly appreciated in the market in Tokyo as a top-grade fish. The firm flesh has a perfect springy texture with a slight pink color and refined flavor. Goldeye rockfish is often associated with the arrival of spring, as it becomes most fatty and flavorful.
The fish is suited to be cooked whole in soy sauce as nitsuke or simply grilled because it has few small bones. However, the locals’ favorite is sashimi.

The goldeye rockfish caught in the Tsugaru Strait on the Kodomari coast in Nakadomari was registered as the regional collective trademark “Tsugaru Kaikyo Mebaru.”
“Nakadomari Mebaru Sashimi and Nitsuke Gozen” is a specialty meal put together by locals featuring exquisite dishes using mebaru. The meal is available at various local establishments.
Farming of goldeye rockfish has been successful for the first time in Japan in Cape Tappi of Sotogahama. Progress is underway to produce a branded goldeye rockfish available throughout the year.

Distribution Season

in season distribution period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish

Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish

The rockfish found in the Kodomari area of Nakadomari, Aomori, are bright orange colored and known as goldeye rockfish.
Grown in the resource rich and fast-current ocean, the goldeye rockfish from the Tsugaru Strait have superb flesh and are highly appreciated in Tokyo as a top-grade fish. The firm flesh has a perfect springy texture with a slight pink color and refined flavor.
Goldeye rockfish caught in Tsugaru are called “Tsugaru Kaikyo Mebaru”, distinguishing the fish for its quality.

Great as sashimi, cooked, or grilled, the town of Nakadomari has developed a local gourmet meal using Tsugaru Kaikyo Mebaru to promote the community. Nicknamed the “mebaru-zen,” “Nakadomari Mebaru Sashimi and Nitsuke Gozen” consists of a whole-fish sashimi, nitsuke (cooked in soy sauce), squid sashimi and more. It is an exquisite meal using quality local products including one entire goldeye rockfish and local rice from Nakadomari.

Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish
Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish sashimi

Harvest Months (Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish)

in season distribution period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish

Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish

Goldeye rockfish (usu-mebaru) farmed around Cape Tappi of the Tsugaru peninsula in Aomori are called the “Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish.” This is the first successful case of goldeye rockfish farming and national distribution.

Wild fry are collected from Mutsu Bay and nurtured over a period of three years to a total length of 22~23 cm (8.6~9 inches) and a weight of 180~200g (6.3~7 oz) then shipped to the market.
The rockfish are raised in free-flowing ocean water pumped from the depth of 240 meters (787 ft) around the Seikan tunnel, making them less vulnerable to diseases and eliminating the need for chemical treatment. Typically, rockfish dies as it is caught due to the sudden pressure change. However, the Cape Tappi gold rockfish can be caught alive thus maintaining the freshest of quality up to delivery.

Wild goldeye rockfish has a slight pink color in its flesh, but the Cape Tappi gold rockfish has a translucent white color due to the pithing technique used. The distinct fishy smell is diminished significantly while retaining the umami flavor of the fish for four days after catch.
True to its name, the fish has a golden shiny body. It has a perfect amount of fat with a refreshingly refined flavor.

Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish sashimi
Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish nitsuke

Harvest Months (Cape Tappi Gold Rockfish)

in season distribution period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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