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cheeks, collars, loins

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  • Deborah Aug 28, 2001 01:34 AM
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I'm reminded by recent postings on tacos and terried sake of a question I've harbored for a while: what are fish cheeks, collars, and loins?

I've imagined that collars and cheeks are roughly equivalent, and that loin is actually belly or toro, but really I have no idea.

Are there other synonyms for these terms? I have seen collars only on Japanese menus for example, and wonder if other cuisines don't feature the same anatomical part under other rubrics; or perhaps fish is cut or filleted differently in different culinary traditions.

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  1. I noticed that the dictionary definition said "the parts of the vertebrate body that lie on either side of the spine between the ribs and the hipbones" and then "a cut of meat from this region" Under the word beef they had a picture of a cow divided up into 11 sections, A thru K, and the loin was on the back half extending as a band around from the top down either side to just above the top of the belly area. Any butchers out there, feel free to weigh in on this subject.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mike Kilgore

      I should have been more precise: I'm trying to figure out what these terms mean relative to fish, not meat. I can certainly imagine a loin on a quadriped but halibut loin (which I have seen on menus) is more of a stretch.

      1. re: Deborah

        No, I should just read more carefully. But I imagine if you thought of the fish with 4 legs going down, (maybe a cowfish?), the loin would be from the same area, kind of the front part of the rear third of the fish, extending from either side of the spine in a band down to the top of the belly? We need a sushi chef contributor to chowhound posts.

        1. re: Mike Kilgore

          I've bought halibut cheeks at Pike's market in Seattle - the only place I've seen it. I've had brilliant roast salmon collar at Ita-Cho (before they moved) and bought salmon collar at fish king in Glendale. They're very knowledgable and could probably answer your queries.

    2. You'll only get fish collars on very large fish. The collar is the first cust between the gills and the dorsal fin. The cheek, on the other hand, is the meat from under the eye of the fish. And the loin is different from the belly, in that I believe the loin is from the area around the spine, and the belly is the bottom of the fish closer to the skin, which tends to be more fatty on cold water fish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Eric Eto

        Eric and others, thank you for your information.