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 FroyoUni 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!
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!
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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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.