What is Black scraper (Umazurahagi)?
Black scraper (Umazurahagi) is distributed in the Sea of Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu, the Pacific Ocean, the Yellow Sea, and the East China Sea from the Korean Peninsula to the coast of China. It is a familiar fish caught throughout Japan. Umazurahagi are called nagahagi (naga means long) because they are longer than Filefish (Kawahagi).
They are abundant at depths of around 10m, slightly offshore from Filefish. When young, around 10 cm in length, they migrate in schools, but as adults, they are often found alone. Adults gather in coastal areas to spawn from around May to July and dive to deeper water around November.
They are omnivores, feeding on benthic organisms such as seaweeds, crustaceans, polychaetes, and even jellyfish. Its scientific name is Thamnaconus modestus (Gunther,1877).
What does Black scraper (Umazurahagi) sushi taste like?
Black scraper (Umazurahagi) has a blurry appearance and does not look tasty, but once peeled, it reveals a clear white flesh similar to that of pufferfish.
The price of Umazurahagi is completely different between those caught in large quantities by bottom trawling fishing and those caught by pole and line fishing. Therefore, Ikejime or live fish are used for sushi toppings.
The liver, with its rich flavor, can be raw or seared and used in nigiri sushi to make an exceptional dish. Although it is looked down upon compared to Filefish and pufferfish, it is relatively affordable and highly regarded as a topping, and is not a substitute for Filefish at all.
However, the quantity of fish received at the Toyosu market and other markets is not stable. From that point of view, few restaurants offer nigiri sushi.
We hope this information will be helpful.
Revision date: June 6, 2023
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