THIS is what you’ve been looking for all your life:
We call this culinary masterpiece “ABURI ENGAWA” (炙りえんがわ).
Seriously, if you haven’t tried it, you are missing out massively.
What is it exactly?
Aburi is a way of preparing sushi in which the fish/seafood is burned slightly with a cooking torch, like the one they use for making Creme Brûlée.
Engawa is, according to Sushi Encyclopedia, “the thin muscle of the dorsal fin which is located on the side of the Halibut.” The article also says that engawa has a higher fat content compared to the rest of the fish. (Which is probably why it’s so damn good.)
Here’s how halibut/flounder looks like before the journey into your mouth. They’re not pretty:
This isn’t the only sushi that can be done “aburi” style. One popular sushi that can be served “aburi” is salmon. It’s pretty good, too!
What’s it taste like?
When the fish meat is lightly torched, the fat from the fish comes out, giving it a soft, juicy texture, and a somewhat buttery taste. It’s absolutely fantastic!
I’m not really great at explaining how food is like, but trust me, you HAVE to try it.
BONUS: Most Popular Types of Sushi in Japan and the US
No love for aburi engawa on that list. How sad.
I haven’t really seen a lot of info online (in English) about this wonderful dish, so I’m thinking it probably isn’t that popular among foreigners. And if that’s the case, well, that has got to change!
Pro Tip 1: Don’t order just engawa. Make sure to order ABURI engawa. Regular engawa sushi is the standard option, but the aburi version is a completely different (and far more superior) experience. Fo sho.
Pro Tip 2: Sometimes you might see “engawa” on the menu, but you don’t see “aburi engawa“. Fear not. Any decent sushi place should be able to “aburi-fy” the fish. Just order it!
Pro Tip 3: Please, please, please… do NOT go to a cheap conveyor belt sushi place. Go to a REAL sushi place. On a budget? Try Sushizanmai. Yes, it’s not the cheapest, but they have reasonable prices compared to other sushi restaurants. Plus they have great service, good quality food, and English menus, too.