How To Do Everything Better: Buy Fish Like a Sushi Master
New year, new you. With that in mind follow along as we hit up experts in far ranging fields from fashion to hospitality to travel for their thoughts on how to do everything better this year.
Buying fish is truly an art. Take it from sushi masters from around the world who have perfected the craft of buying fish to form their creations. Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, arguably the most famous Japanese chef in the world, definitely knows a thing or two about buying the very best fish at the market.
Matsuhisa’s top tip to bear in mind while fish browsing is to observe color. “My method is to look at a fish’s eyes, body, and color,” he says. “The fish’s eyes should always be bright and clear, not dull and cloudy. Next, I look at the body. Does it shine? Does it look metallic and clean? It should be firm and spring back when touched. The scales should look perfect and even, if a fish has missing or damaged scales, I don’t buy it. The gills should be a vibrant red. If a fish is old, the gills will have a faded, dull, brick-red color.”
Beyond that Matsuhisa advises, “Fillets should be almost transparent. Avoid tuna that looks rainbow-colored or black. Whenever possible, buy a fish whole. With tuna this isn’t practical. With smaller fish it is.”
And always keep top of mind that buying shellfish is a tad different from buying fish. “Shellfish is better to buy live,” Matsuhisa says. “In the U.S., because we eat oysters and clams raw, it is very important that they are alive before we prepare them. It’s important to look for a closed shell. If a clam is alive, the shell will be closed. Never buy clams if the shell is open. You can also tell if a clam is alive by taking two clams and tapping them together. If they make a light tapping sound then the clams are dead, if they make a heavy tapping sound then they are still alive. Listen and enjoy!”