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A very brief explination on Hamokiri knives

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Korin_Mari

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Hello!

I would like to share more of my research on the new Masamoto knives today, because until yesterday I was not sure what "hamo" was and why this hamo has its own special knife.

The hamokiri knife:


According to wiki, hamo is Japanese for dagger-tooth pike conger or conger pike, which is a type of eel that "lives on soft bottoms down to a depth of about 100 meters (330 ft). They commonly reach length of 150 cm (4.9 ft), but may grow as long as 200 cm (6.6 ft). It occurs in the Red Sea, on the coast of the northern Indian Ocean, and in the East Pacific from Indochina to Japan. It has also invaded the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal."

This is what hamo looks like:

It pretty much looks like a scarier eel, and if this is a type of eel then why don't people just use the unagisaki? I didn't understand.

The reason why hamokiri knives are so large, is because of the way the fish is prepared. Not only do these knives need to fillet the fish, it also needs to honekiri the fish. Honekiri (literally translates to bone cutting) is a type of cut where the knife crushes a fish's long hard bones by making 1mm cuts in the flesh without cutting the skin underneath. If this procedure is not done carefully and well, the meat becomes minced and the quality of the fish and flavor are ruined.

I found this great video of preparing hamo:
[video=youtube;1OcTkhdCDyw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OcTkhdCDyw[/video]



I have never had hamo. I go to Japan at least once or twice a year and eat at fairly nice restaurants for work while I'm there, yet I have never had hamo. This was also somewhat mysterious to me.

Apparently, hamo is primarily eaten in the Kansai region (especially in Kyoto). You can even find this difficult to prepare fish in the supermarket! In fact, some say unagi is to Kanto, as hamo is to Kansai.


As you can see, hamo can also be grilled and served like unagi. However, if you look closely you can see that there are thin cuts make before grilling.



Why is mostly eaten in Kyoto? Because before there was adequate transportation of fresh fish, it was difficult for the Kyoto (an inland city far from the water) to get fish especially during the summer. Hamo was one of the few fish that had a strong enough vitality, that fisherman can transport to Kyoto alive. To this day, hamo remains one of the most popular things to eat in the summer in Kyoto. Funny enough, because Kyoto cuisine is often high end and hamo is more frequently served in Kyoto cuisine, hamo is sometimes viewed as a high end ingredient.

Outside of Kyoto, hamo is not all that popular and typically deemed as a difficult fish to use and eat. Therefore, it is usually fried into tempura or grinded into paste to make kamaboko (fish spam cake) if eaten at all.

Have any of you eaten hamo before?
 

Zwiefel

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Another very interesting post, thanks Mari!
 

Castalia

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Thanks for the explanation. How about this video of using a hamokiri:

[video=youtube;P7czxu3Nzdw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7czxu3Nzdw&feature=related[/video]
 

Bill13

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Learning something every time I look in another thread. Very interesting Mari.
 

rami_m

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Can we get an Japanese ingredient list. I would like to go for some of the bit so common stuff for next time I go eat :)
 

Korin_Mari

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Can we get an Japanese ingredient list. I would like to go for some of the bit so common stuff for next time I go eat :)
That's a great idea! I'll get on that. :) Thanks for the suggestion!
 
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