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Halibut Sushi

HalibutMany people love eating halibut on its own, but it’s also a very popular ingredient for sushi, and many Japanese restaurants serve halibut. It’s often one of the first pieces of sushi someone will have because halibut has a fairly light taste that will be dominated by some of the stronger fish eaten later on. However, even though it’s delicate, it’s a very popular fish in Japan, and in addition to being used in sushi, it’s also often served as sashimi.

Preparing Halibut

In Japan, halibut is prepared in three different ways. It can be caught and then aged by placing it in a refrigerator for a few hours, or it can be prepared using the kobujime method (dunking it in a bowl of freezing ice water after quickly grilling it). This is the method most often used for sushi.

Halibut has what’s called an engawa. In the context of architecture, this is the term used for the exterior hallways of a house. However, in fish terms, it’s the term for the dorsal fin’s muscle. This thin muscle can be found on the side of the fish, and it’s more developed the other parts of the halibut. It also has a much higher fat content then you’ll find in other parts of the halibut’s body. This makes it more of a delicacy, so it’s usually more expensive.

However, it’s also chewy and soft, plus it has a stronger flavor than other parts of the halibut. Its fat content may increase during the winter, increasing to upwards of twenty percent fat. During other seasons, it usually contains only around ten percent total fat. That may not seem a lot, but it truly is when compared to the rest of the fish. Usually, people eat about half a pound of halibut in the winter as a serving because of the higher amount of fat, while in the off-season, they eat around a full pound as a serving.

The liver of the halibut is another delicacy. It’s often removed and quickly simmered for about five seconds before being plunged into ice water. Then it can be cut and served as sashimi, gratin, meuniere, or grilled and eaten warm.


While the engawa is the strongest part of the halibut, the rest of it has a very faint earth tone to it. That’s because the fish usually buries itself in the sand during the day. However, it can be combined with things like grated radish, red chili pepper, citrus soy sauce, or sliced scallions to give it more of a flavor or to disguise the earth taste if people don’t like it.

The halibut is a flat fish, and it has both eyes on its left side. This is similar to the flounder, although that fish has two eyes on the right instead of the left. The halibut’s teeth are also sharper. Because of the fact that it’s a flat fish, halibut and flounder are both considered hirame in Japanese, which is a category of fish.