Turning On To Chu-toro And Other Bluefin Delicacies
Posted: May 12 2014
When you go to a sushi restaurant, you may see the terms toro, chu-toro, and o-toro. Though related, these terms have very specific meanings each quite different from the others--something you'll soon discover, particularly when it hits your wallet!
Toro is the general term for belly meat of a tuna; in most cases, toro refers to bluefin tuna (more on that later). Toro can be broken down into two types: chu-toro and o-toro. Chu-toro is the healthier option and more widely available. O-toro is considered an extreme delicacy and is often the most expensive item on a sushi menu.
Chu-toro cuts are taken from the belly tip up. Chu-toro is a medium-fatty meat that is often considered the "red meat" of fish. With a unique flavor and tender texture, chu-toro can be used in a variety of creative ways, but its taste is unique to the cut of the fish.
O-toro cuts are from the fattiest part of the belly. If you've had o-toro, you'll know it and remember it. When cut correctly from a healthy bluefin tuna, o-toro meat literally melts in your mouth. This is a rare and unique experience, and usually varies in cost based on market price. It's also extremely fatty, so it should be savored as a special dining event.
Because of that, chu-toro is the healthier and more affordable alternative. Chu-toro can be used in rolls and sashimi, or simply enjoyed on its own with a light sear.
We mentioned that toro generally comes from bluefin tuna. At Fish For Sushi, we care about the ecosystem and want to ensure that wildlife populations remain at healthy and sustainable levels. Bluefin has a slower maturity cycle, yet they're often farmed faster than they can reproduce--a problem that is diminishing their numbers around the world.
While there are no international laws to enforce sustainable bluefin tuna practices, international eco management bodies are striving to ensure sustainable numbers. Part of this is supply and demand, so please enjoy any chu-toro when you have it but understand that it, like the bluefin tuna, is a delicacy that should be enjoyed responsibly for the time being. Lastly, Fish For Sushi is currently working with a responsible seafood company and trying our best to try to bring this delicacy to your dinner table, please stay tune for more updates on this news in near future.