At RŌNIN, we pride ourselves on following the Japanese tradition of eating fresh and seasonally. Every morning our chefs go to the market to pick up ingredients for the daily menu and our seafood is either local or flown in from Japan. We’re meticulous with our fish preparation and passionate about understanding their flavor profiles and where they come from. Learn more about the fish that we serve in our series, Fish Files.
Sardine Iwashi (沙丁魚) (イワシ) – Iwashi live in schools and can usually be found dwelling near the tops of the water, which is why their iridescent skin has traces of blue color. With a relatively short lifespan, their ability to reproduce quickly accounts for their ranking as one of the most sustainable food sources. Iwashi have high fat contents, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D, and have little to zero mercury levels. They are in season between summer and fall during the months of June to November.
Sardines have long been a staple in Japanese cuisine. They have fatty meat which spoils quickly and, therefore, are rarely served raw. Iwashi can be salted to release their water content or pickled in vinegar to preserve the fish and add acidic flavors to the meat. Common ways of preparing Iwashi include pickling, grilling with salt, and deep frying.