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17 Interesting Facts About Hiramasa (Kingfish)

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Hiramasa, also known as kingfish, is a premium fish prized for its buttery, rich flavor and soft texture. It has become increasingly popular in recent years as sashimi and sushi due to its similarities to high-end bluefin tuna.

While hiramasa is farm-raised, it commands prices comparable to wild fish due to its superb eating quality. Read on to learn more interesting facts about this delicious fish.

Facts About Hiramasa

  1. Hiramasa is the Japanese name for kingfish, which belongs to the genus Seriola. Its scientific name is Seriola lalandi.
  2. The fish originated in temperate ocean waters but is now primarily farm-raised in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Farm-raising allows for year-round availability.
  3. Hiramasa has bright orange-yellow flesh that is very soft and fatty, especially along the top side of the fish. This gives it a buttery, rich taste when eaten raw as sashimi or sushi.
  4. The fat content ranges from 5-14%, which is higher than tuna and contributes to its soft texture and flavor. The high fat content means it should be consumed fresh.
  5. Hiramasa has an elegant, clean flavor with sweet and nutty notes. It lacks the fishy taste sometimes associated with non-fatty white fish.
  6. It contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, making it a nutritious choice. Farm-raised hiramasa has comparable omega-3 levels to wild salmon.
  7. Hiramasa is versatile and can be prepared in ways similar to tuna, such as seared, grilled, baked, or cured. It also makes exceptional ceviche.
  8. In Japan, hiramasa is served as high-end sushi and sashimi and commands a premium price, often comparable to bluefin tuna. Top sushi chefs showcase it in their omakase courses.
  9. The average market size ranges from 4 to 8 pounds. Larger farmed fish over 10 pounds tend to lack flavor and texture quality. Smaller fish have the best eating quality.
  10. Hiramasa meat has a short shelf life of just 4-5 days. It must be kept very cold, close to freezing. The high-fat content causes it to spoil quickly.
  11. Flash freezing is often used to preserve the raw fish and extend shelf life. Flash-frozen hiramasa destined for sashimi can be thawed and served within a couple weeks.
  12. Farmed hiramasa are fed a diet of fish meal and fish oil to achieve optimal omega-3 content and eating quality. Some producers add krill and squid to their diet.
  13. The skin is edible with a firmer texture than the flesh. However, hiramasa is typically served with the skin removed.
  14. Hiramasa season runs from late summer to early winter when the fish achieve their best fat content and flavor. Late spring fish tend to be less fatty.
  15. Farm sites are often located in areas with cold, fast moving water which helps the fish develop firm muscle. Colder water also discourages disease.
  16. Hiramasa is sometimes mislabeled as hamachi (yellowtail) in sushi restaurants since they share a similar taste and texture profile. True hamachi is from a different Seriola species.
  17. In blind taste tests, hiramasa frequently matches or exceeds bluefin tuna in overall eating experience which is why it commands premium pricing.

FAQ: Hiramasa (Kingfish)

What is Hiramasa Kingfish?

Hiramasa Kingfish is a premium variety of yellowtail kingfish, known for its pale pink flesh and firm texture. It’s popular for both raw and cooked preparations, especially sashimi and sushi.

Where is Hiramasa Kingfish from?

The Hiramasa Kingfish is ocean-farmed in the pristine waters of the Spencer Gulf, near Port Lincoln in South Australia, known for sustainable aquaculture practices.

What does Hiramasa taste like?

Hiramasa Kingfish has a sweet, rich, and clean flavor that is consistent in quality. Its firm flesh and high-fat content make it a favored option for sashimi.

Is Amberjack the same as kingfish?

While both belong to the same family, the term ‘kingfish’ often refers to a few different species within the Carangidae family. Yellowtail amberjack is commonly known as yellowtail kingfish or great amberjack.

Can I cook Hiramasa Kingfish, or is it just for raw dishes?

Hiramasa Kingfish is versatile and can be cooked in various ways such as grilling, baking, or frying, in addition to being an excellent choice for raw dishes like sushi and sashimi.


The buttery richness and elegant flavor of hiramasa or kingfish make it a rising star in sushi and sashimi. Its fatty texture and taste mirrors high-end tuna while being more sustainable as a farmed product. Seek out hiramasa at high-end Japanese restaurants or specialty seafood markets to experience this delicious fish.

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