cutting the hanging monkfish

cutting the hanging monkfish

[ Dec.2017 ] On the second night of our short family trip to Ibaraki prefecture in Japan, we stayed in the Oarai Hotel facing the Oarai Beach.

According to the website of this hotel, they have 12 different types of rooms, but ours was rather small, though the sea view from the window was beautiful.

This hotel is famous because people can see the first sunrise of the year from their rooms, so it is extremely hard to book a room on the New Year’s Eve.

The night we stayed was one day before, but it was already very crowded.

The most disappointing thing for me was that the dinner was a half buffet.

They served the Ankou-nabe (monkfish hot pot), their feature dish to our table, but we had to go and get other foods ourselves.

Even if those foods were excellent in quality, I could not appreciate that and everything would taste cheap when it is self-service.

But staying in this hotel was worthwhile, just because of the show called “Ankou no Tsurushi-giri (cutting hanging monkfish)”.

It is a performance whereby they hang a monkfish in a lounge near the entrance and cut it for cooking.

Apparently they have been doing this show since November 1999.

We went there half an hour before it started and sat the front sofa.

The master chef of this hotel cut the monkfish, explaining many aspects of the life of the fish.

First of all, because monkfish is slimy and limp, it is difficult to cut up on a cutting board.

So they normally hang it putting a hook through its chin and cut it like this.

Monkfish is a clever fish.

They have a thin protrusion on their eyes, which is like a fishing line and at the end of it, there is a white part.

The Monkfish will move this part as if it was a little swimming fish and wait.

When some fish come and try to eat this white part by mistake, the monkfish will swallow the fish.

Below its mouth with many sharp teeth, there is the stomach and at the entrance of the stomach there are teeth as well.

When the swallowed fish comes into the stomach, it will be closed with these teeth so that the fish would not go out.

Monkfish would not swim, but stay at the bottom of the seabed and crawl with their fins “which are like baby’s hands” (according to the master chef).

Apparently, these fins have lines as if they were 5 fingers.

Also, what they call Nuno (cloth) is a membrane of an ovary and we saw it was covered with many eggs.

The monkfish he cut on the day was 14.o kg in weight.

All of monkfish of this size are female.

Male ones will grow up only to 30 cm or so and they will live parasitic to the female.

And sometimes the female eats the male.

When they brought it, the monkfish was chubby, but after the performance, only mouth, eyes and bones were left pathetically.

The meat, liver and others were our dinner.

It was really an interesting show.

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