Japanese Fish Species 8: Thread-Sail Filefish-Kawahagi-カワハギ

Kawahagi or Thread-sail Filefish (or simply Filefish) is an angler’s favourite in summer, although it is caught almost all year round in Shizuoka.
Like any other fishes, it has other names such as “Gihagi, “Hagi”, “Gyuu”, “Subuta” or “Bakuchiuchi”.
It is fairly common in Central and South Japan.
It is called Leatherjacket down in Australia where it is considered a pest!

The skin should be rough like that of a shark and brightly coloured.
Avoid sticky skin fish.
The bigger the size, the greater the taste (anglers, enjoy!)

In Kansai area, it replaces Fugu/Globefish when it is out of season for its similarity as sashimi.

Actually it makes for superlative sashimi as demonstrated by the above O-Tsukuri served at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!


The same served with its own liver dip!

It can make for a spectacular sashimi presentation as a whole fish sashimi plate!

Both its flesh and liver can be served raw!

Australians would be surprised to discover it served as tartare on Italian-style crostinis!

The perfect Kawahagi sushi nigiri must have be topped with its own liver!

Cut in small slices, it makes for beautiful sushi gunkan!

Cooked, it is very popular simmered in soy sauce, mirin and sugar. A great accompaniment for a nice bowl of freshly steamed rice!

If you want to serve it as tempura, first season it with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums flesh of the sweet kind.

Now, what does this remind you of? Foie gras? Almost right! Grilled kawahagi Liver!


Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

4 thoughts on “Japanese Fish Species 8: Thread-Sail Filefish-Kawahagi-カワハギ”

      1. My hometown is near the east sea of Korea.. This fish is very popular! We eat it as sashimi with variety vegetables and vinergy korean chili sauce. It is so good.. also we have a dried one as snack! just love it!


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