Turning a whole Northern Bluefin Tuna into sashimi and sushi platters is a sight to behold. But Frank Young discovered something new in the process – TUNA BURGERS!
Weekender is no stranger to Oceans of Seafood, situated within Pasarbella at the Turf Club Road. It serves fresh seafood air-flown directly from the source around the world. And we’ve featured them here before.
Recently I had an invitation to Oceans of Seafood to view Master Sushi Chef Mizu-san reduce a whole Bluefin Tuna from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo into various sushi and sashimi plates.
From Whole Tuna to Tuna Burger
Like all the fish in Oceans of Seafood, the 54 kilo tuna came directly from Tsukiji market and is served fresh at Oceans of Seafood. The whole tuna, sitting about the cutting table, was slightly over 1 meter long. Its scaleless body glistened with freshness. Though this tuna wasn’t particular large, it still required more than one person to handle this precious cargo costing perhaps thousands of dollars.
With just one knife, half a meter in length, Mizu-san was able to circumcise the head of the tuna cleanly from the body, leaving it attached to its back bone. It is amazing how sharp the blade is. With a smooth stroke, he was able cut cleanly through tough skin, dense muscle, and cartilage and down to the spine 25 cm deep. (See video below)
With one strong tug of its head, the size of a kitchen sink, he snapped its spine, and detached the head from the body.
With the body on its side, he then plunged the knife down to the bones and cut it lengthwise from behind the gill area to the tail, revealing the pinkish and reddish flesh of the Northern Bluefin Tuna. With a few more lengthwise cuts, he produced body-length strips of fillets.
In short, 54 kilos of tuna was gone in slightly over 3 minutes.
The tuna flesh was supple, and colours ranged from deep red to light pink reflecting the various types of tuna meat served.
As the fillets were carted away for making sushi and sashimi, I noticed the assistants gently scraping the bone areas of the tuna carcass with a ceramic spoon collecting clumps of reddish, cottony meat.
As it turns out, they were collecting the tuna’s “back meat” or “tuna scrape”. According to FoodSafetyNews.com, this is the “part of the fish that remains after the fillets have been removed as whole cuts. Once a knife has been run down both sides of the spine to cut off the fillets, meat close to the bone missed by the blade is then scraped out with a spoon-like device.”
So what do they do with the tuna scrape? Apparently, it’s perfect to make it into patties for tuna burgers because it’s already the consistency of ground meat!
Tuna Burger ($14)
The “tuna burger” was a patty cladded with cheese and onions on the top and bottom then grilled. There were no buns, like what you’d find in a regular burger. The tuna patty was very lean. Unfortunately, it was slightly overcooked and somewhat dry. Perhaps melting and grilling the cheese was just too much for the meat. Nonetheless, this was the first time I tried a tuna burger, and I’m glad I did.
Negitoro Chirashi (discounted price $17)
This dish consisted of finely-minced tuna, spring onion, and slightly poached egg yolk on a bed of Hokkaido sushi rice. Because of the raw egg yolk, I decided to mix all the ingredients together. The texture was thick and sticky, and reminded me of comfort food like as congee. The tuna was very fresh and sweet. I would have preferred chunks of tuna instead of minced tuna to give something “bite-able” to the dish.
Promotion until January 2015
If you never tried a tuna burger ($14), this is your chance to try it, along with a selection of fresh tuna from the world famous Tsukiji market such as Chutoro Sashimi (discounted price $18), Chutoro Nigiri (discounted price $3), Negitoro Temaki (discounted price $3), and Negitoro Chirashi (discounted price $17) during their January 2015 promotional period. Call to confirm promotion validity.
If you prefer western seafood, opt for their fresh Boston lobsters, Pacific oysters and other exotics shellfish.
By Frank Young
Oceans of Seafood PasarBella @ The Grandstand Bukit Timah Singapore
200 Turf Club Road #02-06 (#02-K2 to #02-K11)