Out of the hundreds of varieties of sushi available in Japan, there is one that is very popular named ‘Tekkamaki’. Japanese people consume a huge amount of this sushi, and will often eat it to celebrate special occasions or just for a tasty meal.
While the entire country has their tekkamaki in the orthodox style, Nagasaki has decided to do it another way. Let`s find out why you should head to Nagasaki Prefecture to try their unique tekkamaki right now!
The word ‘tekka-maki’ roughly translates into ‘hot iron roll’, because of the fish meat that looks red like hot iron. Tekkamaki has been widely popular as a snack, and it is thinly sized with pieces of reddish looking raw tuna inside. Rolled in ‘nori (seaweed)’, tekkamaki looks tasty and is perfect for a quick bite.
It is no exaggeration to say that it is found in every corner of Japan in any small to large scale restaurant. The meat from Pacific bluefin tuna is highly consumed in Japan because of its abundance, and there are many dishes based on it alongside tekkamaki such as ‘tekkadon’, which is sashimi plus rice (aka ‘donburi’).
You may have noticed that almost every dish that uses ‘maguro’, which is nothing but bluefin tuna, has the prefix ‘tekka’, which is indicative of its red fiery color. If you order tekkamaki at any normal sushi place in Japan, ‘maguro’ is what you would be served if you are not specific about what you want. However, there are some exceptions that make tekkamaki not so popular in some parts of Japan, such as Nagasaki. Nagasaki cuisine is unique in general owing to its people`s tastes and usage of ingredients in dishes. As a matter of fact, tekkamaki is not red anymore there, and people love it that way!
— ☀Wendy Tokunaga☀ (@Wendy_Tokunaga) November 8, 2017
Maguro meat is not a common sight in tekkamaki restaurants in Nagasaki, which makes it probably the only region in the vast country of Japan to have such a peculiarity. It’s not just the color of tekkamaki that changes, but also its aroma and taste.
Known as ‘white tekka’ (shiro tekka in Japanese), it is seen in almost every other place in the prefecture. However, this isn’t to say that you cant find regular tekkamaki, which is of course seen as well because of a lot of visitors to the prefecture from other areas of Japan would like to have maguro in their rolls.
If you are wondering what makes the sushi white in Nagasaki, then here is the answer – Amberjack. The meat of ‘hamachi’, aka Japanese Amberjack, or ‘hiramasa’ aka Yellowtail Amberjack, looks white and has a very distinct taste with a soft texture. This makes it a perfect ingredient for making tekkamaki.
If you are looking for the reason behind the usage of white tuna in tekkamaki in Nagasaki, you have to analyze the local fish industry first. Nagasaki, being a Western Japanese province, is surrounded by the waters of the East China Sea, with the climate being slightly different compared to the rest of Japan.
Here, you can see maguro being farmed in relatively smaller quantities, and that is why local businesses use the abundant amberjack varieties in dishes. Also, the local fisheries would incur losses if restaurants started using something other than what they have got. Because of this, restaurants have because attuned to the idea of using them for everything in the prefecture.
If you are a foodie you now have a reason to book a ticket to Nagasaki right now! White tekka is just as delicious as maguro tekkamaki and is a must-try without any hesitation. If you are still looking for the regular rolls, do not worry as you will be able to find them in Nagasaki, too.