The In-Season Fish, Kamasu (Barracuda)

(Month information was collected: July 2023)
The Connoisseurs Guide to the Season series unravels the appeal ofseasonal ingredients. In this issue, sushi chef Kazuya Negishi, whostudied fisheries science and Edo-style sushi techniques and runs Negio-zushi in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, teaches us how tochoose and enjoy barracuda, which are in season during the fall.

Oily fall barracuda


Barracuda have beautiful slender faces and bodies. They are inseason twice a year, in the spring and the fall. The spring catch issometimes called “rainy season barracuda,” while the fall catch iscalled “fall barracuda.” According to Kazuya, barracuda in fall areoilier and definitely tastier.

He explains, “There are two notions of the fish season: one refers to the period when catches are large while the other is when the fish is ready to eat and tasty. Spring barracuda are in the former season and are caught in great numbers, but as it’s the spawning season, the meat tastes lighter. The best time to eat them is when they are fatty in the fall. They are easily available as they are caught extensively from the north to the south of the country.”

The connoisseur's choice of barracuda of the day


Barracuda are found in relatively shallow water, feeding on smallfish, and have a mouth with strong teeth. There are two types ofbarracuda generally available on the market, the Yamato barracudaand the red barracuda, but it is the latter that is most commonlyeaten. When we visited, Kazuya prepared a red barracuda caught inKagoshima Prefecture.

“Barracuda meat has umami and becomes tender and fluffy whengrilled. The skin also has a delicious aroma and flavor, so we oftenserve them as sashimi or sushi after the skin has been seared andquickly blanched using the yakishimo technique. Be sure to enjoythe skin as well,” says Kazuya.


How to choose a tasty barracuda

There are several key points in choosing a good, oily barracuda like aconnoisseur. Kazuya gave us all the finer details.


“First of all, the eyes should be clear. The barracuda is likely to beless fresh if they are bloodshot or cloudy. Also, if the belly is soft tothe touch, that means that the internal organs are decomposing, so thetaut ones are fresher. To check the fat content, look at the base of thetail fins and the face, not the size of the body. If the fish is thick andthe base of the tail fin is plump and raised, it’s a sign that it’s well-fattened. Also, if the face is small in relation to the whole body, itmeans that the body has grown much larger, so compare carefullyand choose the smallest face possible.”



How to enjoy barracuda


With intense umami in the meat and skin, barracuda are tasty grilledin the skin and served as sashimi or sushi, opened and dried, orgrilled and simply savored with salt. Kazuya recommends using amixture of natural salt and rock salt. Blending the two differentflavors gives a deeper taste. Enjoy the texture of the fluffy, soft flesh,the savory skin, and the delicious umami of the barracuda thatgradually fills your mouth.



Grilled Barracuda with Salt


Source:Negio-zushi Kazuya Negishi

Peak Season

They become fatty and tasty from the fall onwards in aroundSeptember.
* Depends on variety, climate, and fishing port.


1. Clear eyes
2. Taut belly
3. Plump and raised base of the fin tail (it is fattened)
4. Small face in relation to the body
5. Clean scales
6. Closed mouth

Photographer : YUTA SUZUKI


Address 3-2-21 Higashi Kamagaya, Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture

*The information in this article is current as of the date of the interview. Please contact the restaurant for the latest information.

Japan Fisheries Association

Address 8F Sankaido Building, 1-9-13 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

*The information in this article is current as of the date of the interview. Please contact the restaurant for the latest information.