Hotategai, or Scallops, is another worldwide favourite and also a source of dispute caused by illegal poaching, international or domestic.
The season is summer and the shellfish is sometimes called Akitagai, as of Akita Prefecture.
They are caught off Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.
The domestic production/catch is over 300.000 tonnes a year, while 400 tonnes are imported from China as whole Scallops and 700 tonnes as the muscle part only (“kaibashira”). Japanese scallops will be significantly larger than the Chinese.
Of course, they are much appreciated as sashimi, but also as sushi:
(pic taken at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City)
They are also much appreciated cooked/grilled in the shell with just a little shoyu and sake:
Actually, a good-class sushi restaurants will serve the muscle part as sashimi or sushi, and will serve the rest of the shellfish cooked in light broth inside the shell later!
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