Good sushi is all about the quality of the fish and they say you get what you pay for. If that’s true, one Japanese restaurant owner is now in possession of some amazing raw seafood!
On Jan. 4, Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of the Sushizanmai sushi chain, paid a whopping $1.8 million for a top-of-the-line bluefin tuna at a fish market auction in Tokyo, Japan.
His purchase marks the second-highest price ever paid for the best bluefin tuna. The top spot also belongs to Kimura, as he paid $3.1 million for a bluefin in 2019. In fact, he has beat out everyone at the annual new year auction for seven out of the past eight years. In Japan, these auctions are a major source of high-end fish.
This year’s top tuna weighed in at 608 pounds. In addition to having exceptional size and quality, the first tuna of the year is to believed to bring good luck when purchased.
“In Japanese culture, that first thing you do all year is the most important,” Derek Wilcox, a chef New York City sushi restaurant Shoji, explained to Business Insider. “It sets the tone for the whole year. The first tuna of the year always goes for the highest price that any tuna will go for the whole rest of the year.”
For that price, Kimura better hope it pays off in spades! It should, though. Bluefin tuna is what you’ll find at higher-end sushi restaurants, and the Oma region of Japan is considered to be the best place in the world to source this tasty fish.
“Bluefin is the most sought-after,” Wilcox said. “Only Bluefin has intense marbling. Bluefin also, when it’s aged properly, has a particular balance of flavors.”
Scarcity is also a factor in the expensive price of Bluefish tuna. According to the World Wildlife Fund, bluefin tuna is considered an endangered species. They are the largest type of tuna and can dive deeper than 3,000 feet. Built for speed, they are adept predators and can live up to 40 years.
This particular bluefin was caught by 57-year-old Masahiko Yamamoto, a fisherman from Oma Town in Aomori Prefecture.
“It was good because it was the dream of every fisherman to get the tuna with the highest price at the first auction,” Yamamoto told NHK News Web.
For those hoping to get a taste of this extra-special tuna, Kimura says it will be served at the Sushizanmai location in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo.
“I’m glad I could drop it because it was the first auction in Reiwa,” the chef said. “I wanted to deliver it. I want you to eat delicious tuna at the store. ”
Sounds yummy! Count us in.