1:You can eat everything in the anglerfish

Anglerfish likes to live in the deep sea and looks pretty horrible with its big head and sharp teeth… but don’t be fooled by its disgusting appearance: anglerfish is edible! It’s so large and slimy that it’s really hard to prepare them on a regular cutting board. For this reason, Japanese people have a tradition of hanging the anglerfish so they can prepare and cut it more easily.

Japanese cook cutting an anglerfish

All parts of the anglerfish are edible except for the head and bones, so there is no waste.
The edible parts are divided into seven categories: the fins, skin, gills, liver, stomach, ovaries, and the meat. Japanese people call it the “seven tools of the anglerfish”.

2: Anglerfish actually tastes really good

Japanese people consider the anglerfish as a high-grade fish. Its taste is delicate! Some people call its liver ‘the foie gras of the sea’.

It also has many benefits for the health. It is said to be great against anemia. It is full of vitamin B and B12. It’s meat has very few fat. On the opposite, the liver is very fat, but is full of vitamin D. Anglerfish is low in calories which makes it a favorite among Japanese women.

Anglerfish liver dish

3: The best place to eat anglerfish is Oarai in Ibaraki prefecture

Anglerfish hot-pot

The most popular way to eat anglerfish in Japan is in an anglerfish hot pot, called ‘anko nabe‘. It is eaten with plenty of vegetables and a miso or soy sauce soup with the anglerfish’s liver blended in. The light anglerfish meat flavored by the soup is simply exquisite.
Anglerfish liver and fried anglerfish are famous as well.

You can find anglerfish dishes in many parts of Japan, but there is a saying in Japanese that says “pufferfish in the west, anglerfish in the east”.

By the way, many things are edible in the pufferfish too, such as the testicles of the animal! You can read our writer David’s adventure with this very peculiar dish (and the infamous poisonous fish) here:

Eat Fugu and Live to Tell the Tale

Oarai, in Ibaraki prefecture is actually the best place to eat anglerfish. It’s a famous anglerfish producing area. It’s a very popular destination in the wintertime.

A view of the Oarai seaside

You can get information about sightseeing in Oarai on the Oarai city website (English)

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