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Help me identify my "white tuna" - albacore or escolar?

leverious Apr 23, 2008 05:56 PM

I purchased two packages of "Sashimi Super White Tuna" (wild imported from Chile) tonight for dinner. Is this Escolar or Albacore? After reading about Escolar, I'm not risking serving it to my fam.


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    Humbucker RE: leverious Apr 23, 2008 06:03 PM

    It looks like escolar, but it's hard to tell from that picture. If it's quite white and opaque, then it's escolar. If it's more translucent, like prosciutto, it's albacore.

    There's no danger in serving escolar, you just don't want to eat too much of it at once. I've enjoyed escolar sashimi on numerous occasions, and have not experienced any gastrointestinal side effects. I think you have to eat about a steak's worth (maybe 6 oz. or so?) of escolar before anything bad can occur.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Humbucker
      leverious RE: Humbucker Apr 23, 2008 06:13 PM

      I'd say it's pretty opaque so it's probably Escolar. Although it's not that super white (like the white of sheets) it's definitely more like the color like a "fleshy" pale pink.

      I've read that it's usually safe in small doses... still, after being exposed to all the bad experiences of those who consumed enough to get a bad reaction, I don't think I could bring myself to eat or serve it...

      Thanks for your input Humbucker.

    2. a
      AndyP RE: leverious Apr 23, 2008 06:30 PM

      Hi leverious,

      We serve escolar on a regular basis at the seafood restaurant where I work (Portland, OR). While the shape is correct for escolar, the color, texture, and reddish spots aren't consistent with the whole sides of fish that we receive.

      I am in total agreement with Humbucker that, (qualified statement) there is no danger in eating escolar if the portion size is controlled. We serve 6 oz. portions, which is below the FDA rec. of 8 oz. Here is the qualification: If the person consuming the escolar is already suffering from some gastrointestinal ailment, then abstinance is prudent.

      I enjoy our portions of escolar twice a month, and have never experienced the known dilemma associated with too much of this "forbidden fish".


      1 Reply
      1. re: AndyP
        leverious RE: AndyP Apr 23, 2008 06:44 PM

        Thanks Andy,

        I finally got through to the fish dept. at Uwajimaya and I've been told it's Albacore and a "choice cut" so I guess I don't need to worry about the issues associated with escolar.

      2. s
        Sushiqueen36 RE: leverious Apr 23, 2008 06:47 PM

        I agree with Andy P. The Escolar I've had is white white- like you almost wouldn't be able to distinguish it from the styrofoam. If you taste a bit of it, you should be able to tell immediately. Escolar is very rich, fatty and mild where albacore to me tastes more like tuna.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Sushiqueen36
          AndyP RE: Sushiqueen36 Apr 23, 2008 08:11 PM

          Hey sushiqueen36,

          At the restaurant, instead of "fatty", we use the term "buttery", when describing the texture and mouthfeel. Escolar is verifiably a very low-fat fish. The long-chain fatty esthers, (which are not digestable) in the molecular makeup of the flesh is the source of the wonderful taste and mouthfeel.


          1. re: AndyP
            Sushiqueen36 RE: AndyP Apr 23, 2008 08:31 PM

            I guess if I were in a restaurant wanting a patron to buy a particular dish, I'd say "buttery" instead of "fatty" also. From what I've read, escolar has around 20% fat - which is pretty... um, "buttery" for fish. At any rate, I love the stuff. Andy, are you working in a sushi restaurant in Portland? I'm always looking for restaurants serving escolar - not many do.

            1. re: Sushiqueen36
              Blueicus RE: Sushiqueen36 Apr 23, 2008 08:34 PM

              That's odd... most of the AYCE (and even the a la carte) sushi restaurants here in and around Toronto use escolar when they refer to white tuna.

              1. re: Blueicus
                Sushiqueen36 RE: Blueicus Apr 23, 2008 08:46 PM

                Maybe it's more common in the east? I don't know - just don't see it often in the Pac NW.

                1. re: Sushiqueen36
                  Humbucker RE: Sushiqueen36 Apr 23, 2008 09:19 PM

                  I think it must be more of an east coast thing, I live in California and had never encountered escolar sushi until I went to Toronto.

                  Does anyone know the japanese word for escolar?

                  1. re: Humbucker
                    Sushiqueen36 RE: Humbucker Apr 23, 2008 10:11 PM

                    When I was in Japan a couple of years ago, I tried to describe it and get a translation. Never did get one. I'd be curious to know too.

                    1. re: Humbucker
                      shellicopter RE: Humbucker Apr 24, 2008 12:14 PM

                      At the restaurant I worked at we called it both "Mutzu" or "Saku". Also usually "white tuna" was albacore whereas "superwhite" was the escolar or "mutzu"

                    2. re: Sushiqueen36
                      ptk RE: Sushiqueen36 Sep 25, 2010 01:58 PM

                      I just had escolar for the first time at a wonderful restaurant in Hillsboro OR by the airport, called Sushi & Maki. Escolar is delicious ! No side effects.

              2. re: Sushiqueen36
                scubadoo97 RE: Sushiqueen36 Apr 24, 2008 05:34 AM

                I buy frozen blocks of sushi grade escolar and it is pure white. Very rich texture. Also never experienced any adverse effects.

              3. b
                Blueicus RE: leverious Apr 23, 2008 07:20 PM

                Yeah, I agree. Looks like escolar more than albacore. Albacore has this off-whitishness and translucent flesh and has a less rich flavour.

                1. davmar77 RE: leverious Apr 24, 2008 01:33 PM

                  i guess i missed the part about escolar's side effects.what is the problem?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: davmar77
                    LindaWhit RE: davmar77 Apr 24, 2008 01:56 PM

                    Let's just say it moves quickly through the digestive system. More quickly than most people like. :-)


                    1. re: davmar77
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: davmar77 Sep 25, 2010 02:09 PM

                      just in case yo wanted a bit more detail, escolar contains indigestible wax esters that are similar to omega 3 fatty acids, but not digestible by the human body...which leads to rapid expulsion.

                    2. l
                      la2tokyo RE: leverious Sep 25, 2010 09:32 PM

                      It looks like escolar to me.

                      All the fish branded as "super white tuna" at the fish market that I have ever seen was in fact escolar.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: la2tokyo
                        Pablo Escolar RE: la2tokyo Oct 13, 2010 09:08 PM

                        I purchased both Escolar and Albacore recently to do a quick comparison. The long and the short of it is, you are unlikely to confuse the two fish. Raw albacore tuna is white only by tuna standards. It is more like pink than white. Albacore is white like marshmallows.

                        I took some photos and wrote about them here:


                        1. re: Pablo Escolar
                          ChefChrys RE: Pablo Escolar Feb 28, 2014 08:13 AM

                          thanks Pablo! This was helpful and amusing:)

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