View Full Version : Japan Trip 2011 Video- Tai no Sanmai Oroshi

10-10-2011, 08:49 PM
Another video from our recent Japan trip... how to fillet red snapper. The guy doing the cutting is one of the chefs i have spent time training with. Hope you like the video. Please let me know if you have any questions.

FYI, the knife in the video is a Suisin INOX Honyaki 180mm Deba... Its one of my favorites and i have more on order.


Noodle Soup
10-10-2011, 09:33 PM
I know everyone here worships at the temple of the deba but what I see is one large blue gill size fish that I could take both fillets off of bone free and skin in a couple of minutes with my western style Frosts fillet knife. Not 7 minutes. Done it hundreds of times when the fishing was good.

10-10-2011, 09:38 PM

10-10-2011, 10:05 PM
I know everyone here worships at the temple of the deba but what I see is one large blue gill size fish that I could take both fillets off of bone free and skin in a couple of minutes with my western style Frosts fillet knife. Not 7 minutes. Done it hundreds of times when the fishing was good.

I'm guessing that guy was going pretty slow, because he was explaining things. I could be wrong.

10-10-2011, 10:46 PM
yeah... he's generally a lot faster... even still, I have yet to see anyone take apart a fish with a western fillet knife and get as clean of cuts as with a deba... the texture always looks matte dull as opposed to shiny and smooth... and I've seen a lot of people break down fish

Eamon Burke
10-10-2011, 11:44 PM
Me @ 3:00:

About his speed/etc...I've yet to see the percentage of western cooks/butchers who can handle seafood the way sushi chefs do. I swear, I walk through the fish market I shop at every week, voted best in the Metroplex(8 million people here), and just shake my head at the waste and general clumsy handling of the fish.

This guy has serious game. Quick question: Was the knife he was using fresh off the stones?

10-11-2011, 12:09 AM
no... i'd cut up about 10 or so fish before that video. The first video i posted was of me cutting up an aji... that was my first fish of the night... i cut up quite a few after that and even more after the tai.

10-11-2011, 01:20 AM
This is not helping me resist the DEBA!!! Just got an inheritance check and I don't need that kind of temptation :p Lucky for me that was not a deba I NEED so at least that impact was less than it could have been lol.

I love these videos. When I just about lived on the docks around Santa Barbara I saw alot of fish mongers and wannabe fishmongers ply their trade, it was always the asian community that sold out first because their stuff was the best looking, and least wasteful. Just my observations I know a few western users are just as skilled and carefull, but they are few and far between.

10-11-2011, 01:43 PM
Yeah, this guys got skills no doubt. Wish I understood Japanese to learn from what he was saying.

But I have to say this - I'm shocked at the amount of water used!!! Living in CO near the Continental Divide where most of our nation's water is at it's source, water - rights, usage, conservation - are big issues here. Also, I grew up in a crummy house w/ a poor well that would go dry in the summer. My father had a big 500 gal or tank chained onto an old flat bed truck and we used to go to a well on some other farm property to fill the tank up and then dump it into our well. Water conservation has been instilled in me since I was a kid - out of necessity - and watching fish butchering vids makes me gasp at the water waste. Just had to get that off my chest...

Jon - a couple of questions;

If the fish is skinned after the fillets are removed, why is such care taken in scaling the fish first? Is it so the cuts are as clean as possible through the skin? If so, why not just scale the areas around where the cuts are made? Is the skin used as well?

Can you describe a little how/why the design/construction of a deba works so well for fish and why it's better than a western or double bevel knife?

When cutting a fillet, does it matter which side of the blade is against the bones and which is against the flesh?

I've been wanting one for a while, even though I don't have much use for whole fish (thinking more for whole chickens, but any knife will do for that; perhaps for the occasional pike I take f/ a lake...), and I've got some of my own ideas about why they work but of course I could be wrong. Thanks a ton for posting this!!! Cheers! mpp

10-11-2011, 02:38 PM
Yeah... people use a lot of water. It was the same when i was in italy.

The fish is scaled first because it makes it easier and cleaner to cut. If you have scales on the fish when you are cutting, they tend to get stuck on the meat. Nothing worse than biting into a piece of fish (raw or cooked) and getting scales in your mouth. Also, the skin is left on for a good number of fish.

I like the way the deba works because of how it pushes the meat. It makes my job a lot easier. Also, because of the bevel design, less damage is caused to the fish in cutting so the yield is always clean, smooth, and has a nice sheen to it. Western knives do not cut the meat the same way. The most noticeable difference is that western fillet knives often leave striations on the meat from the cutting tehcnique. But besides that, the meat never has a sheen... its always matte looking.

When using a deba, there are certain techniques that require different grips on the knife and thus different blade approaches, but for the most part, the bevel is on the bone side and the ura is on the meat side.

I'm going to try to get some notes added into the video so you can get a sense for what he is talking about. Just have to find some free time first ;)

Eamon Burke
10-11-2011, 07:47 PM
You can use less water, it just makes for more wiping and slightly less sanitary conditions. The constant abuse of water is a luxury of working in food, like how construction guys get to use giant tools for things.