With the end of the year approaching, the auction for shark, an essential ingredient for New Year’s dishes in the Joetsu region of Niigata Prefecture, was held at the Ichijin Joetsu Fish Market in Joetsu City, Niigata Prefecture, on the morning of Wednesday, January 27, to the sound of lively shouts.
At the Ichijin Joetsu Fish Market, an auction for shark, a popular New Year’s dish in the Joetsu area since the Edo period, is held every year at this time. Just after 7:00 a.m. this morning, 26 moka sharks landed at Kesennuma Fishing Port in Miyagi Prefecture were on display at the market.
Each fish weighs from 50 kilograms to 100 kilograms. According to the market, this year all the fish are male and many of them have large meat.
About 20 people from fresh fish stores and supermarkets in the city participated in the auction, shouting vigorously and bidding for the fish. This year, the fish was priced at about 1,500 yen per kilogram, and the auction ended in about 10 minutes.
The quality of the meat is the same as in previous years, and the freshness is very good. The quantity is also coming in without any problems. We were able to secure the planned quantity. We want to put them on the sales floor and offer them to our customers.”
Ichijin Joetsu Fish Market President Ozaki
Every year at this time, I feel that the end of the year has come. I hope people will enjoy eating fresh sharks for New Year’s.”
The custom of eating shark in Joetsu began in the Edo period. Since it is difficult to procure ingredients in winter and shark meat can be preserved, it is popular in the Takada area and mountainous regions as boiled or stewed fish for New Year’s. Because it is low in calories and high in protein, it is now served as fried fish in school lunches at elementary and junior high schools. Because it is low in calories and high in protein, it is now served as fried fish in school lunches at elementary and junior high schools. Ms. Mari Ibe, a researcher of shark food culture, was at the market to observe the auction.
Mari Ibe, Shark Food Culture Researcher
I hope you will try meuniere, teriyaki, and other dishes while thinking about the history of sharks in the past.