Dif­fer­ent parts of the tuna and ways to en­joy them

Highly sought-af­ter maguro, or tuna, is on ev­ery gourmet’s hit list. But there’s more to the fish than ex­tra fatty otoro. We slice a lit­tle deeper to re­veal other heav­enly melt-in-your-mouth cuts and how to serve them.

Crave - - CONTENT - Words Iris Wong Pho­tos Sa­man­tha Sin and Happy Yuen Spe­cial thanks to Hokkaidon and Sushi Gin


Leaner than other cuts, the tail has a rich, con­cen­trated flavour. It is un­usual to find the tail in a restau­rant un­less it buys an en­tire tuna to fil­let in-house.

Wild or farmed?

Best en­joyed in au­tumn and win­ter, wild-caught tuna has firmer mus­cles than farmed tuna, which re­sults in darker red flesh and a richer, meatier flavour with a lin­ger­ing af­ter­taste. How­ever, when it comes to wild tuna, fresher is not al­ways bet­ter: fresh wild tuna sashimi is tough and un­palat­able, so restau­rants usu­ally age the fish to soften it be­fore serv­ing to cus­tomers.

Farmed tuna tastes the same all year round, and some ar­gue it tastes even bet­ter than wild tuna in sum­mer. “Half-farmed” tuna is “aged” in wa­ter dur­ing trans­porta­tion, so it is at its op­ti­mal con­sump­tion pe­riod fresh out of the wa­ter.


A fatty cut from the mid­dle part of the belly, chutoro is soft and pink­ish with very lit­tle sinew, and is less mar­bled and less oily than otoro.


The up­per part, or “shoul­der” and back, of the tuna is the most com­mon cut avail­able in su­per­mar­kets and restau­rants, and can be con­sid­ered “stan­dard” tuna. The flesh is firm and lean.


The ex­tra-fatty tuna belly be­tween the back cheek (kama) and mid­dle belly (chutoro) is prob­a­bly the best-known cut among Hong Kong din­ers. Otoro may be the most ex­pen­sive tuna cut, but it’s too fatty for most palates and rib (nakaochi) is the most pop­u­lar cut in Ja­pan and Hong Kong.


The cheek of the tuna. With only two small chunks in each fish, it’s al­most as pricey as the more fa­mous otoro and kama-toro (back cheek) cuts.


The back cheek, or gill flesh. A par­tic­u­larly fatty cut within the kama, called kama-toro, is char­ac­terised by firm yet well-mar­bled flesh.

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