Flounder Fin Sushi [Engawa]


Japanese Name and Pronunciation:

engawa in Japanese


Engawa refers to the muscle found near the fins of certain flatfish, particularly from the Karei (righteye flounder) or Hirame (largetooth flounder). It is considered a prized ingredient in Japanese cuisine and is often featured in sushi preparations.

Engawa nigiri sushi is typically served with soy sauce on the side. Diners can dip the sushi into the soy sauce, savoring the delicate flavors of the Engawa while enjoying the combination of textures between the softness of the rice and the unique chewiness of the muscle.

The taste of Engawa can vary depending on the species of flatfish it is sourced from, but it is known for its subtle sweetness and umami-rich flavor. The texture is often described as slightly chewy, providing an interesting and enjoyable mouthfeel.

Hirame and Karei may appear similar, but their feeding habits and activity levels differ, resulting in distinct differences in their flesh quality. Karei primarily feeds on worms and doesn’t require much movement, often quietly dwelling on the seabed. On the other hand, Hirame feeds on small fish like horse mackerel, which necessitates more activity for hunting.

As a result, Hirame has a leaner muscle structure, while Karei has a higher fat content and a richer body. The same applies to their Engawa, with Hirame’s Engawa having a firm and slightly chewy texture, which is more popular than Karei’s Engawa. Hirame’s Engawa offers a delightful texture that sushi enthusiasts appreciate.

Due to the abundance of Karei species and their plentiful catch, Karei Engawa is widely distributed at a lower price point. This availability makes it a common choice for conveyor belt sushi chains. On the other hand, high-end sushi establishments typically serve Engawa from Hirame, as it is highly sought after for its distinct qualities.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend comparing and contrasting the Engawa from both Hirame and Karei. It will allow you to appreciate the unique qualities and flavors they each offer.

Ingredients for This Dish

Largetooth Flounder [Hirame]
Righteye Flounder [Karei]
White Rice
Pure Rice Vinegar [Junmai-su]
Soy Sauce [Shoyu]