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Dec 30, 2010 12:17 PM

Where to get sushi grade fish

Does anyone know if this is available locally (outside the sushi restaurants that is). I found a website that has gotten some good reviews (http://www.catalinaop.com/) but they have a pretty hefty shipping fee of $20 so I'd have to buy a ton to get my money's worth.

Also, is it really true that most sushi restaurants in the country use frozen fish for their sushi?

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  1. I believe FDA regulations require that for fish to be served "raw", it must first be frozen. Is that true only for sushi sold in restaurants? I would imagine that even for a fishmonger to sell fish labelled as fit for sushi/sashimi, the requirement that the fish be first frozen will apply.

    Not a link to the law, but convincing: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/08/nyr...

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Freshwater fish is always frozen. Most salt-water fish is, but not all. The freezing isn't as bad as it sounds-- if you can get fish cold enough, quickly enough, the effect is minimal on texture, etc. And we're all much safer for it. Talking to sushi chefs, some of the deepest-dwelling fish may not be frozen, but even so, they'll still have a fair number of parasites that you want a professional to size up.

        As an addendum: most sushi-grade fish is flash-frozen, something one can think of as akin to flash-pasteurized. Say 30 minutes at something well below freezing in any measurement system. The effect is a bit different than 48 hours at 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

        And I would wager that every fish at Whole Foods has been frozen at some point (though I still love the store and respect differing opinions).

        To get a non-frozen (maybe) specimen, you'd need to go somewhere that is or has a direct supplier-- say San Miguel Seafood, or someone with a connection to Tsukiji fish market.

        1. DK Sushi on North Lamar sells very good quality of SG Fish at good prices.

          1. "Catalina" is an excellent company with quality products. And the shipping fee of $20 for receiving such high-quality fresh seafood is more than reasonable.

            And yes - most if not ALL sushi restaurants use frozen fish for their sushi. Reason #1? To be safe, nearly all raw seafood needs to be frozen for at least 48 hours in order to kill parasites. Reason #2? Seafood is a highly perishable product - only lasting 2-3 days at best; less if being served raw. To keep a constant pristine-fresh supply on hand at all times would be cost prohibitive.

            Think about it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Breezychow

              Actually, for reasons relating to flavor and texture, certain cuts and types of fish benefit from controlled aging. I know that Yasuda in NY ages fattier cuts of bluefin toro. Not for extended lengths of time, but for two of three days.