Food Business

Now I Know Who Would Buy Sashimi/Sushi Grade Fish Online, It Rhymes With “Wee” and “Woo”

Akashi-dai: The sea bream caught in Akashi and 鯵, Aji: Horse mackerel. Featured image by Halfrain

Reading Yelp reviews about somebody from Los Angeles or New York eating sushi in a landlocked state is obnoxious because they always tout “like, I’m from LA/NY, so I know quality fish.” Well, I doubt that, but I will agree that it is lot easier to find sashimi grade fish in large coastal cities.

Having lived the last two and a half decades in Los Angeles to the SF Bay Area, I have had “good to great” quality sashimi from a Japanese market or restaurant. Now that I am currently landlocked, with very few Japanese in the area, I only have a handful of non-Americanized sushi restaurants to get my fix. So with such lackluster local options, I have to go online, and if you are in the same boat, then “me” and “you” are now fellow shipmates.

From dock to door, these are the seafood vendors that will deliver frozen or fresh seafood to your next party.

This is from the good ole iPhone 6 days when I lived a block and a half from Shunka sushi and 9 mins from Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa.

If You Like it Raw, You Want “Sushi-Grade” or “Sashimi Quality” Seafood

What the hell is “sushi-grade” or “sashimi quality,” you ask?, well according to Yama Seafood:

“We label products as Sashimi Quality if they can be consumed raw. Of our Sashimi Quality products Salmon, and only salmon, is recommended to be cured before consuming raw. The easiest way is to freeze overnight or longer. You can also use a salt and vinegar cure. None of our fresh products have been frozen before unless otherwise specified in the product description.”

– Yama Seafood, Jersey City, NJ
Photo Description: two cuts of pinkish slabs of highly marbled otoro bluefin tuna by True World Foods. They are a major fishmonger based out of New Jersey, and they are also a world leader when it comes to buying sushi grade fish online.
The cuts of otoro from a bluefin tuna by True World Foods. Image courtesy of True World Foods.

So How Do You Decide Which Online Seafood Delivery is Best

Well, it all depends on these factors:

  • Party of 1 or a large sushi party: Are you throwing down for yourself (this way, you don’t have to fight over that last piece), or are you hosting a large party? Whichever it is, unlike Costco, where 300 rolls of toilet paper would prepare you for the end of civilization, most types of fish are perishable regardless of it is frozen or not. Some seafood you can’t freeze because it will degrade the quality, and you should consume it all as soon as possible.
  • Types of fish/seafood you are looking for: There are your standard offerings (Americanized sushi), and then there are your more Japanese offerings. The common offerings would be tuna and salmon, versus bluefin (akami, chu-toro, to ohtoro), to saba, and akamutsu. Depending on which category you fall into, determines if the 3-pack with tuna, ono, and salmon suits you or a vendor that caters to high-end Japanese restaurants is your best match.
  • Your budget: There are often various grades and types that can help you manage your budget. Instead of a massive bluefin loin, you might opt for poke cubes/chunks to ground or nakaochi (tuna back meat scraped from the bones) to stretch your dollar. Although, on the other end, a massive bluefin loin will be the baller way to go to flex on friends and family.
Photo Description: a rustic looking white bowl with crushed ice and several slices of shiromi and possibly fresh iwashi (it has to be since it's hikarimono).
Twigs, ice, a rustic bowl, and raw fish never looked more delicious. Image by Kimishowota

Great Sushi is About the Details

I get the details, so I prefer to go to a restaurant if I want sushi, although if I attempt to do it at home, this is what comes to mind:

  • Sashimi: If you have never prepared sushi before, start with sashimi (also get yourself a good knife). It can not get any simpler than taking a fillet and cutting it up into slices although there a number of specifics in the way you cut it, but I won’t get into that.
  • Temaki/makizushi: If you are going to prepare sushi, make sure to get your sushi rice down before you attempt to do either nigiri or makizushi. Except, if you are going to do any style of sushi, temaki, and then makizushi would be path you will want to take.
  • What is good sushi?: you can find that out in an older post, “What is Good Sushi.
Photo Description: hotaru ika (firefly squid) in a bowl with a leafed plant, and tiny purple flowers. They all sit atop daikon and a shied leaf with a slice of lemon.
Not baby squid, and they are actually grown adults that go by the name of “hotaru ika” or firefly squid. Image by Nanase K.

If you want to prepare hotaru ika, I highly suggest this blog that continues to throw down with amazing content, La Petit Noisette.

Sushi Grade Fish Online by the Top Fishmongers

“Fishmonger” to me sounds like a tyrannical ruler, but the meaning is “a person or store that sells fish for food.”

I just had to look into the etymology of fishmonger, and according to these sources: 1. Now I know why I am thinking tyrannical because I am associating it to warmonger (“stirs up war”), via grammarphobia. 2. via PrinceHamlet, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, they have cited that the word fishmonger was a euphemism for a “fleshmonger,” or pimp.” So next time you walk in to your local fish market, you would not be wrong if said “what up pimp.”

Catalina Offshore Product
San Diego, CA
Albacore (Shiro maguro), Caviar (sturgeon), Tuna (ahi, akami maguro, bluefin chunks/loin, toro, and yellowfin), Salmon (belly, Canadian, Faro islands, poke pieces, smoked, wild coho), Marinated Mackerel (shime saba), Pacific Striped Bass, Tilapia (Izumidai), Yellowtail (hamachi and kampachi).
Fulton Fish Market
New York, NY
3-pack (ahi tuna, ora king salmon, and ono), American unagi, Octopus (cooked and frozen), Uni (a variety).
Hokkaido Uni
Hokkaido, JP
Uni, straight from the source.
Honolulu Fish Market
Honolulu, HI
Ahi tuna, Barramundi, Black cod, Hamachi, Kanpachi, Octopus (tako), Ono, Opah, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sweet Crab.
Riviera Seafood Company
Los Angeles, CA
Bluefin tuna (akami, toro, chu-toro, otoro), Caviar, Gindara (black cod), Hirame (olive flounder), Hotare (scallops), Salmon (wild, ora, king, Atlantic), Shrimp, Striped bass, Yellowtail, Unagi/Kabayaki (grilled eel), Uni
Seattle Fish Company
Denver, CO
Octopus, Salmon (Norwegian), Saku tuna, Tobiko, Tuna (ground, loin, nakaochi, poke cubes, tataki), Unagi (smoked eel).
True World Foods
New York, NY
Akamutsu (nodoguro), Caviar, Fresh Wasabi, Kinmedai (alfonsino), Mentaiko (ago-otoshi), Salmon (Japanese/Aomori, roe/shoyu, smoked Atlantic), Zuwaigani (jumbo snow crab). All order must meet $100 minimum
Yama Seafood
Jersey City, NJ
Yama is able to source almost any type of fish from Japan. Yama has direct partnerships with Toyosu Fish Market and various vendors in Japan so we can import fish four times a week.
Order fresh seafood online from any of these websites.

Who is Biggest of The Online Sellers

I thought these websites would get more web traffic, although they are not all that big, unlike Alaskan King crab websites, which garner a ton of web traffic. I had initially assumed they had massive sales online since many of these companies are big players when it comes to $$$$$ supplying restaurants.

The largest of them all is Fulton Fish Market (1st to 9th place) with Riviera Seafood Club and Seattle Fish in a distant 10th and 11th place.

CatalinaOP.comAlmost no web traffic although they have a number of paid ads.
FultonFishMarket.comUpwards of 57k per month with a $20k ad budget.
HokkaidoUni.comOnly a couple hundred visits per month with 0 paid ads.
HonoluluFishMarket.comOnly about 1k per month with a tiny online ad budget.
RivieraSeafoodClub.com4-5k per month with a couple hundred in paid ads.
SeattleFish.comAbout 5k per month and zero paid ads.
TrueWorldFoodsNY.com2-3k per month with zero paid ads.
YamaSeafood.com1k per month with zero paid ads.

Wholesale Only Fishmongers Who Are Slang’n It to Restaurants

I intend on constantly updating this post, so what you see now will continue to change because this is a mammoth industry and undertaking for a noob like me to grasp (it’s also one reason why another article turned to chef’s to get their suggestions, smart move).

Ultimately, I really want to utilize my network in Japan to Los Angeles and New York to help create the ultimate resource for fresh fish and sashimi/sushi grade seafood for restaurants or sellers online. #fishsquadgoals

Photo Description: a tray of fresh sea urchin from Hokkaido, Japan. The gold/brownish orange hue almost looks like the texture of a dogs nose.
A tray of fresh, not frozen uni from Hokkaido by the Uni Shop. Image courtesy of the Uni Shop.
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