Sanma, or the Pacific Saury, is present in large numbers in the northern Pacific Ocean and is a popular food in Japan during the fall. Autumnal catches of sanma are renowned for their juicy taste. The name of this dagger-shaped fish is also sometimes written with three kanji characters meaning “fall-dagger-fish.” One very common way to savor sanma is to broil it with salt and then serve it with the juice of lemon or sudachi citrus, or with grated Japanese radish. It also goes well with soy sauce. Some insist that the correct way to cook sanma is to broil it over a charcoal fire, and refuse to use a gas stove. Recently, more people enjoy eating it raw in the form of sashimi. At \100 or so per piece, sanma has historically been a favorite of the common people in Japan. The fish’s name has even found its way into the title of a famous rakugo (or traditional comedy) story. Recent medical research has demonstrated the benefits of its nutrients, such as eicosapentaenoic acid, which improves blood circulation, and DHA, knows to reduce “bad” cholesterol.
Updated: September 27, 2019