- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Pacific saury, rice
- History/origin/related events
From late October to March, Pacific saury migrate south to the Kumano-nada Sea on the cold current from the Sanriku coast to spawn. Pacific saury can be caught all along the coast of Wakayama Prefecture, but the saury caught in the Kumano-nada Sea in the south is especially suitable for sushi because it has been caught in the tides for a long time and its meat is firm, small, and has a good amount of fat.
Sanma-zushi was originally made to preserve rice and fish, and was a feast served at autumn festivals, New Year's, and other gatherings. Especially in mountainous areas where rice cannot be grown, it was a valuable source of nutrition.
In some areas, saury is called "saera" or "saira. Sansuma-zushi," or "saira sushi," is also called "saera no teppo" (saera gun) because of its resemblance to the barrel of a gun.
Haruo Sato, a writer born in Shingu City, also loved sansma-zushi, and is said to have said, "The best food in my hometown is mehari (mackerel) first and saury second.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
It was always prepared at home for autumn festivals, New Year's, ship launching celebrations, and other events. Even today, it is a New Year's tradition. During celebratory occasions, the head is left on and the fish is pressed into a zushi. The way the fish is handled differs between Nishimuro-gun and Higashimuro-gun, with Nishimuro-gun having the belly open and Higashimuro-gun having the back open. There is also "Yaki-Sanma-zushi," which is made on New Year's Eve and grilled at the beginning of the year.
- How to eat
The saury is opened, gutted, and rinsed with salt, then moistened with vinegar, and placed on top of sushi rice and pressed to form the right shape. The fish is carefully removed down to the small bones, and is served as is without dipping in soy sauce. It can be served with a refreshing taste by using yuzu or dai-dai-dai no shibori-vinegar as a secret ingredient. Some households and restaurants ferment the fish for several months to make nare-zushi.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is still popular among people of all ages in the southern part of the prefecture, and there are still many long-established shops that make narezushi using the traditional method.
source : Local cuisine and Japanese-style eating habits (Wakayama Prefectural Consumers' Co-operative Union)