- Main lore areas
Northern Miyazaki Prefecture (coastal area)
- Main ingredients used
Horse mackerel, vinegar
- History/origin/related events
Fish sushi" is a type of zushi made with mackerel or horse mackerel, and is commonly called "saba-zushi" or "aji-zushi". It is a specialty of the coastal areas of Miyazaki Prefecture, especially the town of Kadokawa, which was a territory in the Edo period (1603-1868). It is said that in the old days, along with imo shochu, it was a highly anticipated dish for officials coming to the territory. In addition to mackerel and horse mackerel, sardines and barracuda are also used. It is said that the origin of this dish can be traced back to Shikoku, and that it was introduced to Miyazaki Prefecture by people who came from Shikoku to Miyazaki Prefecture on the other side of Japan. In the past, it was a delicacy that was always prepared during winter festivals. It was also made easily by peddlers who brought in new fish caught in the Hyuga Sea. Mackerel and horse mackerel were cut open at the back, and sardines were cut open at the belly. After that, they are marinated in vinegar. You can also soak the fish in vinegar overnight to avoid reddish color.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
The seasoning differs from household to household. It is served on festive occasions, during the Bon Festival, New Year's Day, and festivals. It is so popular that it sells out quickly during festivals. The local people consider the mackerel "fish sushi" made from only the best cold mackerel, which is full of fat and has a delicious flavor, to be an exquisite dish.
- How to eat
In Kawanamachi's Dorihama area, sushi is made from small fish in season, such as lentil and small horse mackerel, which are freshly caught, cut into three pieces, sprinkled with salt, and marinated in vinegar. The skillful pickling of the fish in vinegar is the key to its delicious taste. While the fish is marinated in vinegar, the sushi rice is made. First, vinegar and sugar are mixed to make a vinegar mixture, which is then evenly mixed into the freshly cooked rice and allowed to cool slowly. Then, the rice is rolled into a ball with the palm of the hand, and the fish, which has been well marinated in vinegar, is placed on top and eaten.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the people who have passed it on, preservation groups, use of SNS, modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Although it is sometimes made at home, it is also sold at sushi restaurants and local supermarkets in the northern part of the prefecture. Miyazaki's specialty fish, mackerel for sushi (mackerel sushi in mackerel form), is sold online as a local specialty dish, and is also sold as frozen pickled horse mackerel.