Yellowfin tuna

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Name Yellowfin tuna
Other name Ahi Tuna
Latin name Oncorhynchus keta
Japanese name (please see detail below)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Scombridae
Tribe Thunnini
Species T. albacares
Genus Thunnus
Subgenus Neothunnus

Flavor & Texture
Yellowfin tuna or ahi tuna has wide variety of texture, taste, and flavor. Generally, the belly part (toro) has very buttery part when the fish is big enough. The part close to the head (o-toro) is the fattiest, oily, and should be consumed raw. Cooking this part results making the meat melting as oil. medium toro or chu-toro is located slighly above the belly. It is less oily and has excellent texture; soft, not too buttery, but a little fishy. Unlike big eye tuna or blue fin tuna, yellowfin tuna belly has fishy smell and taste. From this reason, sushi chef has to work hard to do the "magic" with yellowfin tuna belly.

Closer to the tail, the meat has more tender and crunchy texture compare to belly part. Most of the belly parts have pink color and the rest are bright red.

The neck part contains so much oil. It is hard to process this part as a sushi part because the size, buttery texture with fishy smell and taste.

Yellowfin tuna has been sold in fresh, frozen, CO2 frozen, superfrozen style. Indeed, it will give you wide variety of color, texture between them.

Yellowfin tuna is the largest tuna species that available. Their weight can reach 400 lb.

Ahi Tuna refers to hawaiian style yellowfin tuna. It is usually a little smaller size than yellowfin tuna. The meat has brighter color.

Japanese name

  • Akami (赤身): top loin
  • Ōtoro (大とろ): fattiest portion of the belly
  • Toro (とろ): fatty tuna / belly.
  • Chūtoro (中とろ): medium-fat belly (usually above the belly)

There are many yellowfin tuna in Mexico, Hawaii, Indonesia, Philipina, and atlantic ocean. It is possible that they are growing in Pacific ocean and other ocean as well. They can be catched by pole-and-line fishing or purse seining method. They are available all year.

Sushi Preparation
To prepare the fish (bone, skin and take out the black part) is hard to do it in restaurant. Special knife and cutter are needed to cut this fish to the smaller part. Tuna butcher is required to process this size of fish. However, some smaller yellowfin tuna is possible to be cut in a restaurant if the chef has the necessary knife.

Let's start with tuna part. If you defroze a frozen tuna, just put it the frozen bag into cold running water. There are two styles to cut the fish; cross (opposite) the white line or remove the white line. You should taste if the white line is too chewy or not before cutting. Never re-froze the defroze tuna.

The belly part is very soft and easier to break. Therefore, use the sharpest knife. Cut while it is still cold (not frozen). Beware that this part usually more fishy than the regular part of tuna.

High quality protein, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. Good fat content. It has low in saturated fat, however, it has high mercury content.

Nutrition Fact 100 grams +3.5 oz
Calories 139
Protein (g) 30
Fat (g) 2
Saturated fat (g) <1
Sodium (mg) 47
Cholesterol (mg) 58
Potassium (mg) 441
Source of information:

Wikipedia, Nutritiondata Self, Honshu Sushi

Yellowfin tuna frozen vs yellowfin tuna CO2 treat From left:yellowfin tuna, big eye tuna, CO2 treat yellowfin toro, big eye o-toro. Honshu Sushi, Jersey City, NJ From left:yellowfin toro (CO2), big eye chu-toro (with skin), big eye tuna, yellowfin tuna. Honshu Sushi, Jersey City, NJ  

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.