It’s sashimi time, and the selection is good, according to markets across Oahu that are helping to supply the delicacy to ring in the new year.
On North King Street, Tamashiro Market was bustling and its tiny parking lot full on Monday as customers were picking up sashimi orders for New Year’s festivities. The store is expected to be even more packed today.
“The selection is actually very good,” said Vice President Guy Tamashiro. “We’ll be having several different grades of ahi and bringing in bluefin ahi. We bring it throughout the year, but during the holidays we bring in a whole bunch extra.”
Customer Denise Takahashi of Pearl City was picking up her order Monday to avoid the crowds.
“It’s the only place I go,” she said, having ordered her New Year’s fix there for the last 15 years. “The quality is the best … . It’s one of the few, old traditional businesses. At Tamashiro’s, you can always depend on the quality and availability.”
Tamashiro, which got its start in Hilo, has been at its current location since 1947. The glistening blocks of ahi in the window display case ranged from $18.95 per pound to $25.95 per pound, depending on the grade. The premium-grade toro ahi was $35.95 per pound.
Takahashi put in her order before Thanksgiving for two pounds of bluefin, a sashimi platter and two shrimp rings to celebrate with family, including her daughter and family, who are visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a special time of year, she said, when the family gets together.
At Tanioka’s Seafood &Catering in Waipahu, the staff was busy preparing for an expected rush today.
General Manager Justin Tanioka said customers
already had put in approximately 400 pickup orders and that he had a good selection to offer this year at prices comparable to last year.
“So right now, everything’s the same,” Tanioka said. “The quantity and pricing was pretty good this year. We always buy a higher grade than normal so that’s why it’s a little higher than everybody else. That’s our strength.”
Ahi poke is priced at about $23.95 a pound, while medium-grade ahi is $32.95 a pound, he said, same as last year.
Tanioka’s closed its pop-
up shop at Ala Moana Center on Sunday so the Waipahu location is where customers can still walk in to purchase sashimi and an array of okazuya items.
Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency, which operates the Honolulu Fish Auction, confirmed the abundance of fish this season.
“It’s been a good last couple of weeks, so we have a lot of fish right now,” he said. “Depending on what your price ranges are, fortunately, there’s a lot of selection and choice this year.”
Chef Elmer Guzman, owner of Poke Stop in Mililani, said ahi was readily available this year, so prices are not as exorbitant as when supplies were limited in years past. His prices range from $28 to $32 per pound.
“We have ahi-grade sashimi, hamachi, we got salmon,” he said. “We got blackened sashimi, ready to pick up at the store. We can customize 3- to 5-pounders … . Every year, we get really crazy, so come on down.”
Those who put in advance orders can simply walk in, then walk out, he said. Those who subscribed to the Fivestars program have access to weekly specials and discounts.
“It’s going to be a great year and nobody’s going to be gouged,” he said. “That’s good for everybody. Everyone’s worked so hard.”
In Kailua, the small space at The Hibachi was packed, and orders for sashimi have been coming in since before Christmas, according to worker Ki‘ilani Vidinha. Business has picked up since the Pali Highway fully reopened last week.
“We’re getting smashed,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up.”
The Hibachi offers salmon, ahi and hamachi, all from the Honolulu Fish Auction, he said. Its Kakaako location has been busy as well.
At Tamashiro Market, Connie Wickware of Kalihi browsed the aisles with her good friend Judi Matola, who was visiting from Wailua, Kauai.
Wickware plans to celebrate New Year’s not with sashimi, but with salmon prepared Swedish-style. Tamashiro is her go-to neighborhood market, she said, because the selection is good and the staff is nice and can tell customers where the fish came from and when it came in.
“If people are willing to spend their money on good fish, our job is to supply it,” Tamashiro said.