Red Snapper (tai or madai)

Red Snapper meat is light pink to white. A little on the firm side. Taste is mild. Its highly sought after as sushi.

Madai is the Japanese term for "true tai". I see why this is the case. A search for "red-snapper sushi" turns up with Centroberyx affinis as the species used in sushi. A news article claims there is only one legal RS and that is Lutjanus campechanus.

Madai or Pagrus Major "true tai" seems to be the one that sushi chefs deem the best. Caught only in japan from the Seto Inland Sea south. Ironically, Pagrus Major is listed as red sea bream. To which the afore mentioned news article listed the red sea bream as fraudulent R. snapper.

No matter which one you go with, if you decide to keep it real avoid the substitutes with a little research you may find a good source.

Go to fish market that sells the whole fish instead of fillets so that you'll know you don't have tilapia when looking for tai. Look for freshness clues such as clear eyes not cloudy.

Suitable substitutes are tilapia, sea bream, porgy.

The home sushi cook needs to make sure it is fresh, scaled, and fillet and served as one would serve tuna sliced on top of rice nigiri.

Sometimes chefs will leave the skin on and cook it by pouring boiling water on the skin and quickly flip it onto a small block of ice to prevent the flesh from cooking.

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