Cherry Salmon Dishes Entertain Tourists on Awaji Island

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Black rice bowl

MINAMI-AWAJI, Hyogo — Dishes with “Awajishima sakuramasu” (Awaji Island cherry salmon), are being served at the island’s restaurants and hotels as a local taste of spring, entertaining tourists and others.

This year, 56 such dishes, including rice bowls, hot pots and pasta, are being offered at 33 locations. The spring delicacy with its high-quality fat and sweet undertone, will be delighting visitors until the end of May.

To elevate cherry salmon as a regional specialty, fish farmers have engaged in cherry salmon cultivation in Fukura Bay in Minami-Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture, since fiscal 2015, while local chefs have created new dishes with the cherry salmon to entertain tourists.

In late February, staffs from nine restaurants gathered to show this year’s cherry salmon dishes at Kibi International University’s Minami Awaji Shichi Campus.

In addition to standard rice bowls and rolled sushi, there were also unique dishes such as a “black rice bowl,” in which bamboo charcoal is added to steamed rice and the batter for deep-fried salmon, and “osashimi pasta,” raw cherry salmon fillets placed on top of pasta made with cherry blossom paste. Attendees from tourist agencies sampled the dishes.

“Our cherry salmon have grown large as the water temperature was high this winter. We hope many people will try our salmon,” said Wakao Maeda, the head of Fukura Fisheries Cooperatives, which cultivates cherry salmon.