White flesh

A photo of houbou nigiri
Spiny red gurnard (Houbou)

Spiny red gurnard (Houbou)

【Nigiri sushi: Shiromi
What is houbou?
Houbou (Spiny red gurnard) is a warm-sea fish found from the Western Pacific Ocean to the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea. It lives on the deep sandy floor, mainly around 100 to 200 meters, but up to 600 meters deep. It is characterized by its pectoral fins that spread out from its large head in semicircles and look like butterfly wings. When its pectoral fins are spread out horizontally, they are a blue-green color with a sky blue border and spots.

It’s hard to imagine that such an ugly fish could be so palatable. The tasty fine sweetness of the whitish flesh of this fish spreads in the mouth. However, this fish produces a low yield with only 40% of it being edible, which is one reason why you won’t generally find it in the sushi topping case. During the cold season, large fish weighing more than 1 kg have a special flavor, with pale pink flesh and a lot of fat.

Also called Bluefin searobin or Gurnard.

【Substitute fish】
Red Gurnard: Chelidonichthys kumu (Cuvier, 1829)
Lepidotrigla kishinouyei Snyder,1911
Lepidotrigla japonica (Bleeker,1857)
Lepidotrigla guentheri Hilgendorf,1879

(Revision date: December 30, 2023)

Main production area

Kyushu Shimane Yamaguchi Wakayama Aichi

Famous production area

Sajima Ohara