Loading... Please wait...

Blog - Restaurants

When it comes to fish, truly ‘fresh’ isn’t ‘just out of the water’

Posted by

Would you call me crazy if I said fish consumed the day it’s caught might be some of the blandest and toughest you’ll ever eat?

What if I told you that fish properly harvested and held ice cold in a boat—for several days—is what you want? Would you brand me the Heretic of Honolulu Fish? After all, doesn’t everyone want fish that “swam yesterday”?

Wrong. Totally wrong.

Believe me when I say that the best fish you’ll ever eat has a little age on it, yet so few know this valuable truth. Let’s turn to the Japanese for their expertise in this area.

Hardcore sashimi chefs understand that muscle tissue of just-caught fish is in rigor mortis and overly firm. Until a series of enzymatic reactions allow the cell walls in the fish’s muscles to break down, the flavors we all attribute to perfect sashimi can’t be released.

The Japanese describe this condition as konnyaku, loosely translated as “too fresh” or “red and jelly-like” because the flesh is brightly colored and almost glassy. Since such super-fresh fish is slightly rubbery and has zero flavor, the pros who grade it won’t judge it until it’s been iced at least 24 hours, and ideally three days.

At that point, as a fish’s cell walls are breaking down and releasing some water, the meat begins to firm up in a favorably, toothsome way. That change also releases oils that create the unrivaled flavors, textures and aromas craved by all sashimi fans.

Now, let’s head out to sea to understand why fish caught via long-line harvesting and fish caught on rod and reel differ profoundly. As we’ve all seen on TV—and maybe even experienced personally—a fish hooked by a human using a rod and reel will fight to its death. There’s nothing subtle about its will to get off that hook to live another day, so when it’s hauled aboard, it’s exhausted and its muscles are teeming with lactic acid. If that fish isn’t bled out properly, that acid stays in its muscles and “burns” the meat, meaning the flesh is grainy, metallic-tasting and discolored. That fish also has zero shelf life and could begin turning black within a day.

By comparison, fish caught on a long line endures far less stress. Fully deployed, a long line stretches out about 12 miles and features about 2,500 baited hooks. When a fish bites the hook, it’ll fight to get off, but since there’s no one topside trying to pull it in, its panic ceases and the lactic acid created in that initial resistance is reabsorbed. When pulled aboard, the fish is in a somewhat dazed and relaxed condition and not struggling. Properly bled, water-cooled and stored in ice-cold conditions, the fish is now in optimal conditions for aging.

That, my friends, is the fish you want, one which has passed rigor mortis, is self-tenderizing, incredibly flavorful and at the true peak of freshness!

Video: Honolulu Fish Company Chef Michael Crouch

For more than 20 years, prominent chefs all around the United States have been serving Honolulu Fish Company fish at their restaurants. Chefs have trusted in us to supply them with the very best fresh and high quality Pacific water fish needed to ensure customer satisfaction. Check out our video featuring Honolulu Fish Company loyal customer chef Michael Crouch of Bistro 1860 [...]

Read More »


Video: Fresh Fish Delivery to Restaurants

As a restaurant or chef, QUALITY often is, and should be, top of mind. And when it comes to seafood, Honolulu Fish Co. is THE fresh fish purveyor that can and will meet your quality seafood standards! We love this excellent video from our loyal customers at Chandlers Prime Steaks - Fine Seafood that documents how [...]

Read More »


How We Make Hawaiian Poke

In Hawaii, our go-to dish at any party, gathering, holiday, lunch, dinner, you name it, is Poke! This dish is trending across the U.S. with many restaurants opening solely around this concept. And more and more chefs are featuring it on their menus. It’s truly a way of life in Hawaii. You will find it [...]

Read More »


Add More Seafood to Your Restaurant Menus During Lent

During the 46 days of the Lenten season between Ash Wednesday and Easter, restaurants across the U.S. step up their seafood game, offering fish specials. And diners take the bait! Seafood consumption is on the rise as a whole, and Lent is the perfect time to feature some unique options.We select the best of the [...]

Read More »


Connect with Honolulu Fish Co. on LinkedIn

Honolulu Fish Company now has a LinkedIn business page. Chefs and restaurant owners wanting to improve their knowledge of the fish industry can connect with us here.CEO and owner Wayne Samiere will share news and insight on topics including seafood sustainability, seafood health benefits, seafood science and more. As a trained marine biologist with more than [...]

Read More »




Sign up to our newsletter

Recent Updates