Sayori (針魚 / Japanese halfbeak)

Category: hikarimono (silver, shiny fish).

Season: from late fall to early spring. 

Another original Edo period neta, sayori used to always be salted and lightly marinated in vinegar, as otherwise it would quickly develop a strong, unpleasant smell. These days, thanks to modern refrigeration, it is usually served raw with some wasabi and ideally a dab of oboro. This is not a fish that chefs will age; it is best when served very fresh, and it does not keep for more than a day or two.

It is a beautiful, long, and slender fish with an elongated lower jaw and delicate, almost transparent flesh. It begins to appear on menus in the late fall, and peaks in quality in the early spring.  

The fish’s beautiful appearance is enhanced by a sushi preparation technique called wazukuri: a thin, long horizontal cut is made along the length of the fish and is artistically intertwined on top of the shari to create a visually striking piece of nigiri

Halfbeak’s clean, delicate taste and intoxicating aroma make it a popular item with Edomae-zushi aficionados.

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