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The fatty underbelly of a tuna fish that is a Japanese delicacy.

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Toro: Literally Melt in Your Mouth Sashimi

  • Jul 13, 2009
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Toro is the holy grail of all sashimi.  It's the underbelly of the bluefin tuna, and it's the most scarce (toro is only about 8% of a tuna!), delicious, and, therefore, expensive, sashimi that there is out there.  For years, I've been hearing about how bluefin tuna is auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars in Asia, usually won by chefs, and how people flock to those chef's restaurants to pay top money to eat that toro.  It wasn't until pretty recently, though, that I actually got to experience some toro.  My then-FUS, now-FUST buddy (that stands for Froyo Uni Soft-Serve Toro -- it's the basis for our relationship and I'm totally okay with it!), Jason, took me to Ozumo in Oakland for toro, inadvertantly turning my world upside down. 

Below is the picture of the 10 pieces of toro that we consumed that night.  I'd click on it to see the full size if I were you ;)

So just how amazing is toro?  If you read my maguro review, then you'd know all about my love affair with the other 92% of the tuna that's not toro.  Well, imagine maguro infused with a ton of fat, resulting in a creamy, buttery consistency.  If you look at the picture above, you'll see that even while sitting on the plate, it's already flaking off on it's own, so it's no surprise that when I picked it up with my chopsticks, it flaked off my chopstick, and when I put it into my mouth, it MELTED.  If you click on the picture and see it full sized, you'll see the gorgeous marbling of fat on each slice.  The fatter, the better (as it is with all foods, it seems)!

Though I found it amazing, Jason says that hes had better (is that really possible?).  There are actually two kinds of toro -- otoro and chutoro.  Otoro is the very underside of the tuna and is the fattest and most desirable.  Chutoro is the side of the belly and less desirable because it's less marbled with fat.  I probably had Chutoro.  I aspire to eat otoro.

This amazingness doesn't come cheap though.  That plate up there, for example, at $10 a piece, totalled $100.  Jason said that it was worth every penny. 

...Thank you, Jason :)

If I were a rich girl, I'd totally buy blocks of toro and smear it on toast for breakfast every morning.  That'd be the life!

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August 10, 2009
Haha... you've to be pretty greedy to eat Toro for breakfast! But, fairy godmother will grant you the wish if you were at Tokyo and head towards Tsukiji market to see the auctioning of those fish and then head towards those sushi stores for a breakfast date with the Toro!
September 14, 2009
I'd love to have a breakfast date with toro! Especially in Tokyo :D
July 18, 2009
Oh, how I love sashimi! Toro is definitely a fave! It is just ssooo good. Have you tried super white tuna and monk fish liver? Unee is also quite good, but it varies on the restaurant you go to. nice mouth-watering write up!

Maybe I should do a write up for blowfish sushi and stonefish stew...you know about them I am sure.
July 20, 2009
I've had shiro maguro, but I don't know if I've ever had SUPER shiro maguro before! :P  I've had ankimo before and you know I love uni, too!

I've heard of Blowfish Sushi, only because they sponsor a radio show on 94.9, but I've never heard of Stonefish Stew before.  Yes, write ups, please! :)
July 22, 2009
Hm. I've never reviewed food before. It'll be real interesting as to how it would turn out. I wonder how I can do a plot summary...LOL I'll give it a shot.
July 13, 2009
I've never had it but, that looks SO good! I'm a big Albacore fan but, this stuff looks SO delish....might have to talk the bf into taking me for some. We'll lie to him and tell him it's like Albacore- it's like sneaking veggies into kid's food!
July 14, 2009
I'm a shiro maguro fan as well!  Something tells me that you're not going to have to trick your bf into eating toro.  Just tell him it'll literally melt in his mouth!
July 13, 2009
For me, Otoro sashimi is best served after being heated on both sides for a couple of seconds by a scorch, the type used to make the top layer of cream brulee...this technique melts the fat a little before eating it and thus makes the toro even more tender...just imagine a hot ice cream dissolving in your mouth....a must try experience for all toro lovers!!!
July 14, 2009
Hmmm, that's an interesting way to prepare toro. I've heard of searing it before, but never burning with a blow torch! I generally prefer my fishes served straight up cold and slimy, but I might just have to give this a try. Thanks for the suggestion, Landy! :)
July 13, 2009
Nice review, Devora. I too am a sushi lover, although I take the opposing viewpoint. For me, toro has two things against it:

1.  It doesn't taste as good as maguro
2.  It costs substantially more than maguro

So for me, I skip the expensive stuff and buy more of the cheap stuff.  :-)

July 14, 2009
I'll agree with you on the second point (that's why I have so many suggestions for maguro preparation; I don't mind tampering with it), but I refuse to re-read your first point! :P
July 13, 2009
I love Toro and you officially and literally made my mouth water!!!  That looks so good! Have you ever had White Tuna?  It is my personal favorite and truly does melt in your mouth.  It's almost like Toro :)  
July 14, 2009
Haha, and yes, I've had shiro maguro before, truly oishi.  I can't help but wonder how the belly of it tastes.... :P
More Toro reviews
Quick Tip by . March 22, 2012
This stuff is a little expensive. I mean 7 slices for $ 25-30, but it is well worth it! It is the kind of sashimi that is so smooth and so succulent that I cannot get enough of this stuff. I usually have it with a side of hot steamed rice. So good!     
Quick Tip by . March 04, 2010
Want a tongue massage? Then go out and experience the Toro-- you will know exactly what I mean. Simply one of life's pleasure. Literally!
Quick Tip by . March 04, 2010
i know it's the best, but it's just a bit too oily for my tastes
About the reviewer
devora ()
Ranked #4
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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About this food


Toro is the fatty underbelly of he northern bluefin tuna.  The northern bluefin tuna is an important source of seafood, providing most of the tuna used in sushi. It is a particular delicacy in Japan where at one auction, a single giant tuna sold for more than $100,000 on the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. It is also popular in Taiwan, particularly in the town of Tungkang. As a result, some fisheries of bluefin are considered overfished, and this problem is compounded by the bluefin's slow growth rate and late maturity. The Atlantic population of the species has declined by nearly 90 percent since the 1970s. The bluefin species are consequently listed as ones to "Avoid" on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

To supply sushi markets, the bluefin tuna is reported to be fished at 4 times the sustainable rate. Numerous ranches across Mediterranean harvest juvenile Bluefin indiscriminately fattening them offshore to improve the quality of meat. The industry is worth 220 million dollars a year. Each female produces 40 million eggs and these bluefin ranches pose a serious risk to the population of bluefin in the seas, by wiping them out at all stages of their life cycle.
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