Southern Bluefin Tuna is prized for its fat content and creamy mouthfeel when eaten raw. The flesh in the loins is dark ruby red and the belly is a pinkish white. Southern Bluefin Tuna is commonly separated into three specialty cuts that are used for sashimi. These cuts still carry their traditional Japanese names: akami, otoro and chu-toro.
Akami (red): Akami is the most abundant cut, is ruby red in colour and comes from the top loin, shoulder and tail, and has a clean, bright flavour and colour. Akami is crisp, firm in texture and similar to salmon in mouthfeel. It has light sweet notes on the front palate.
Otoro (big fat): Otoro is the fattiest part of the Southern Bluefin tuna. It is pinkish white, well-marbled section of the belly that almost resembles wagyu beef. Otoro is soft and yields much like butter. It is sweet, rich and buttery with a lingering umami finish.
Chu-toro (medium fat): The Chu-toro provides both meaty and fatty texture. It is slightly paler than akami and is found in the belly area behind the otoro. Chu-toro is moderately firm, akin to fresh mozzarella. It is not as sweet as akami, but has a clean, rich, full flavour.
The top loin can be sliced into three sections as follows:
- Akami – upper tail meat
- Akami – middle part of back meat
- Akami – upper part of back meat
The bottom loin can be sliced into three sections as follows:
- Akami – lower tail meat
- Chu-toro – lower part of back meat
- O-Toro – belly meat