Buri (鰤 / Yellowtail)

Category: Shiromi (white fish) Season: winter.

Buri in December, when it reaches it peak in fat and flavor.
Buri in December, when it reaches it peak in fat and flavor.

Yellowtail is another example of a “shusse-uo” (promoting fish) – a fish that is called by different names depending on its stage of development. Young, the fish is called wakashi, then as it grows it is called inada, warasa, and finally buri when it reaches full maturity and a length of about three feet.

Just as sanma indicates autumn to the Japanese, Buri signifies winter; it is in the wintertime that the fish reaches its highest fat content and very best taste. 

Buri has been favored as a sushi ingredient since the Edo period, and the best specimens are to be found in Toyama Bay on the northern shores of Honshu. In the winter months, buri is regarded as the fattiest and most flavorful shiromi (white fish) - its taste and depth of flavor can equal the best maguro, especially when carefully aged for a few days to allow for naturally occurring enzymes to break down the fish's proteins and fats into amino acids such as glutamate.