Sawara | Spanish Mackerel

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Name Spanish Mackerel
Incorrect other name King Mackerel
Latin name Scomberomorus maculatus
Japanese name サワラ Sawara
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Scombridae
Species S. Maculatus
Genus Scomberomous
Tribe Scomberomorini

Spanish mackerel is not the same with king mackerel. It is totally different fish. However, some people said that they are similar because the texture and same characteristic.

Flavor & Texture
Spanish mackerel can be very fishy if they are not fresh. Fresh spanish mackerel meat is very soft, less tender, and melt, but it is very tasty. It can be the most tastiest in mackerel family. The color usually is clear white with a little red pink color closer to the skin. (Hard) skin should be removed. However, a little (soft) silver skin is perfectly fine to be eaten. The belly part has softer texture to melting texture if the chef cut them very thinly.

The average size is 55-125cm with the weight 2-15 kg. However, Florida spanish mackerel usually is catched less than 5 kg because of the market request.

Some sushi place mentioned this fish as Aji アジ (horse mackerel) because Aji or horse mackerel has more value. However, the fish is totally different and they have slighly different flavor and texture. Spanish mackerel has less fishy

Fisher can catch spanish mackerel in almost every marine area. It is wild fish. They live mainly in cool water around gulf Mexico, Florida, Southern Australia, Southern Japan or Atlantic ocean. The season is between August to late September in Florida area and they migrate to shore of Texas from early April to July.

Sushi Preparation
Preparation of the fish including how to filet is not hard. However, it needs some attention in take out the bone and skin. Usually, people are using fresh spanish mackerel for sushi and they try to avoid frozen or fillets.

Hard skin should be removed because it has chewy texture. Soft skin is fine to be eaten. Some sushi chef prefers to leave a little soft skin for presentation reason.

Mackerel family is perilous to serve raw because mackerel contains larvae and parasites. The popular way to prepare is salt them or soak them in vinegar for few hours.

Good protein and less oily. Slighly higher in cholesterol than other fish. However, it has less fat. However, it is not good for sensitive stomach and kids. Spanish mackerel rich with Omega-3 fatty acids as polyunsaturated fatty acids. It has high mercury risk as well.

Nutrition Fact 100 grams +3.5 oz
Calories 139
Protein (g) 19
Fat (g) 6
Saturated fat (g) 2
Sodium (mg) 59
Cholesterol (mg) 76
Potassium (mg) 0
Carbohydrate (g) 0
Source of information:

Wikipedia, Australian Seafood, self nutirion data, the Zen of Fish

Left to right:spanish mackerel (sawara), regular mackerel (saba) Sushi Yasuda, NYC
Sawara sushi    

A tiny note:

The review about the taste above is a general review. There is no fish taste the same. The weather, size, quality, the source of the fish and how the sushi chef prepare them are important aspects to the taste and texture. We try to write as accurate as possible. Therefore, we are looking forward to the reader to participate in the discussion/comment to add/adjust/revise those review. Please mention when, where and specific detail how you review the fish.