Otoro is the most prized and expensive part of the tuna, renowned by chefs and foodies everywhere. It’s a delicacy in the world of sushi, and everyone should try it at least once in their lifetime.
But what makes Otoro tuna so delectable? It’s not easy to find, and as we said before, costs a pretty penny to purchase, which begs the question: Is it even worth it?
Well, rest assured because we can tell you it is. If you’re not convinced yet, then here are 5 reasons why Otoro tuna is the best sushi treat you can get.
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It’s the Fattiest Part of the Fattiest Part of the Tuna
Toro refers to the underbelly of the tuna and has the highest fat content of the fish. Otoro takes it a step further and is the fattiest part of the Toro.
As you can guess, it’s the richest, most tender portion of tuna, and as many describe it, “melts in your mouth” when you eat it.
The Taste is Intense
The umami flavor of Otoro is no joke. Given its high-fat content, the cut is vibrant and is often considered the Wagyu of the sea. Like the rest of the underbelly, the Otoro’s meat is sweet and takes on a buttery consistency when exposed to the heat of your mouth.
Given its delicious flavor profile, Otoro is best enjoyed simplistically. That means alone (sashimi) or on rice (nigiri) with a little bit of soy sauce and a dab of real wasabi.
Otoro Takes Tenderness to a Whole Other Level
We mentioned before how tender and “melt in your mouth” Otoro is, but we’d like to establish just how tender it is. The cut is so fatty and delicate that it’s constantly on the brink of falling apart and is almost as soft as butter. That means it must be handled with care and served as fresh as possible.
In Japan, Otoro is typically cut and served straight from the fish, but in America, the FDA recommends freezing raw fish first to kill parasites. While this will inevitably degrade some of the fish’s innate quality, it is done for safety reasons.
It’s a Premium Cut and Hard to Find
Since Otoro only comprises a fifth of the underbelly, it’s a pretty rare cut. You’ll only find it at premium sushi restaurants, and you can bet your bucks that they’ll charge a pretty penny for each piece of sushi you get.*
Given that it’s not something you eat every day, you’ll appreciate those infrequent occasions you do, and the fish will taste all the better.
*though you can, apparently, get it shipped overnight by Amazon?
Omega-3’s and Protein
While sushi isn’t the first thing that comes to mind with healthy eating, it’s certainly not off the table for your dieting. Even though Otoro is the fattiest part of the tuna, it’s still not all that bad for you. It has a decent amount of protein and is notably rich in omega-3 fatty acids, among other valuable nutrients.
We’re not saying you should splurge and eat Otoro daily (especially not in this economy!), but it can be part of a well-balanced diet when eaten in moderation.
Their Population is Increasing
Unfortunately, the Bluefin Tuna is a vulnerable species. As such, fishing laws and regulations have gotten much more strict on fishing and distributing this type of tuna over the years in hopes of preserving their conservation status.
Of course, you’ll be happy to know that a 2022 stock assessment has found that the population is steadily increasing, and Bluefin tunas are slowly recovering from overfishing.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Otoro:
What is Otoro tuna?
Otoro tuna is the uppermost cut of the Toro (the underbelly), nearest to the fish’s head. It is the fattiest part of the tuna and is the least widely available, thus making it the most expensive. The price is worth it though for the flavorful taste of this fish.
What type of tuna is Otoro?
Otoro is from the Northern Bluefin tuna, the most expensive and most sought-out fish for sushi. Since Bluefin tuna is already the most costly type of tuna out there, Otoro is a step up since it is the most expensive part of that fish.
What is Toro vs. Otoro?
Toro refers to the underbelly portion of the tuna and gets separated into two different parts: the Otoro and Chutoro. So while Toro is somewhat fatty, Otoro and Chutoro are even fattier and more flavorful.
What does Otoro taste like?
Otoro has a distinct, melt-in-your-mouth texture with a rich umami flavor that’s more intense than other types of tuna. There are subtle notes of sweetness in the meat, and it’s like eating the fat of a prime rib but without the beefy flavor.