Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hata (Striped grouper)

Hata. Striped grouper (Epinephelus septemfasciatus). ハタ、羽太。

Size varies from 15 cm to more than 2 meters. Groupers have a stout body and large mouth and are not made for long-distance swimming.

[Picture from Fishbase]

Likes to suck in its prey and swallow it whole instead of biting pieces off it. Feeds on other fish, crabs, octopus and lobster. Occurs near shore, such as rocky reefs in shallow waters. Commercially cultured in Japan. Best in early summer. Ma-hata grows to 90 cm and is eaten as sashimi and grilled with salt. Even more tasty is kiji-hata, which only grows to 40 cm - the meat of this fish is pinkish and highly prized.