HAMAMATSU, Japan >> Stingray caught in Lake Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture, is being promoted as an ingredient by local chefs even though the fish is not often used in cuisine.
Fishermen consider stingrays a nuisance but advocates have been highlighting their crunchy texture.
Hisayuki Adachi, 65, owner and chef of French restaurant Harmony in Iwata in the prefecture, has been serving stingray at events held for restaurant industry professionals. He said he became interested in the texture of stingray cartilage and the delicate flavor of the fish.
“Stingray is a great ingredient. I want more restaurants to use the fish,” he said.
In French cuisine, it is considered a delicacy.
Adachi once served a dish that featured Lake Hamana stingray in a seaweed-based sauce at an event. He cooked stingray fins in bouillon stock and served it with a white wine sauce. People who ate the dish were surprised, Adachi said, some even told him their impression of stingray changed.
Adachi does not serve the dish at his restaurant because he cannot get a regular supply of the fish.
Fishermen dislike stingrays because they eat shrimp, crabs and asari clams. They also have strong poison in their tails and give off an odor of ammonia when they lose their freshness. However, if fishermen utilize the fish, it could be marketed as a local specialty and would lead to better catches of the seafood that stingrays prey on.
A local research group that works on the planning of fishery products in Hamamatsu has produced smoked stingray fin and fried hanpen cake made of ground stingray meat.
Smoked stingray is soft and good to eat with mayonnaise, while fried hanpen combines the soft and crunchy texture of cartilage.