Best eaten: Grilled with salt
Sanma is most delicious and fatty in autumn. Due to that and how the silver-skinned fish looks like a knife, its name in kanji means “autumn knife fish”. With a taste not unlike herring or sardine, sanma is usually grilled with salt until the skin browns and blisters. It is enjoyed whole, with fans relishing the bitter taste of its guts. The most popular way to feast on this fish is to start with the crispy skin, then squirt some lemon juice on the flesh and have it with daikon (Japanese radish) and soya sauce. Together with shinmai (new rice) and miso soup, it makes for the quintessential autumn meal.