Hatahata, or sandfish, is Oga and Akita’s signature fish. Sandfish emerge from the deep sea and swim ashore to lay eggs during the stormy season before snowfall. Because Hatahata is abundant in the season of thunder (kaminari, which can also mean God’s roar), its Japanese character is a combination of the characters representing “fish” and “God”. The meat of Hatahata is light and delicate. What’s even more appealing about the seasonal Hatahata is the female’s roe, called buriko, whose stickiness is its biggest characteristic. The buriko of female sandfish who come in swarms to lay their eggs on the seaweed in the seas of Oga are said to be the most sticky and delicious! The Oga buriko is even mentioned in a traditional folksong of Akita, demonstrating its deep connections to Oga. Every year, a higher value is placed on the female sandfish as if to indicate the value of buriko. The roe has been highly valued as a delicacy since old times. The origin of the name buriko (literal translation: broods of yellowtail) comes from many different stories, such as one of feudal lord who didn’t want peasants fishing for this delicacy, so he is said to have lied told peasants that the sandfish were the broods of yellowtail (buri, hence the name buriko) and because the sound it makes when eaten sounds like “buri-buri”.
Last Update: 2019-10-11