Hokkaido Home Cooking - "Smoked Okhotsk Atka Mackerel" Delicious appetizers best served with sake!
If you're looking for a great smoked fish taste, you have to try out the "Hokke no Kunsei" or "Smoked Mackerel."
This treat is available in many shops across Sapporo, but I picked some up at Sapporo 2-Jyo Market. The shop attendant there informed me that "because of a poor mackerel harvest this year, we haven't been able to turn over vary many of these."
Smoked mackerel makes a perfect snack to enjoy over drinks. Just be careful not to confuse it with "Hokke no Mirin Hoshi" or "Dried mackerel with Sweet Sake Flavor."
The shop attendant also told me that "If it isn't fresh Hokkaido mackerel, which have a lot of fat, than they won't taste so great smoked."
Although handling the fish will make your hands greasy, it's something you have to bear when removing the skin of the fish. Working with the fish in a vertical position allows the skin to be easily removed.
Eating them after you finish peeling works fine for most people, but personally I like to peel three or four and then eat all of them at the same time. I like to enjoy the salty-sweet taste and smoky scent of the fish for as long as possible before peeling again!
Eating them while sipping a delicious beer is the best!
This year's catch was extremely small so there isn't much of this fish available. If you happen to spot some in a shop be sure to pick it up. Who knows the next time you'll be able to enjoy the great taste!
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)