What is Madai sashimi?


Madai is also known as Japanese sea bream or red sea bream. It is regarded as a variety of white fish, or shiromi. Madai is frequently served as nigiri or sashimi in sushi restaurants. Madai is usually fried, boiled, and grilled.   

However, madai might be too well-liked. Wild red sea bream is quite uncommon. Today, farm-raised fish make up the majority of the fish supply. It is one of the most expensive fish at the sushi bar. Considered the king of white fish, it is known for its savory flavor, firm texture, and exceptionally excellent flesh.

Madai can be eaten two different ways: skinless to savour the concentrated sweetness of the white meat, or skin-on as Matsukawa-zukuri, parboiled. The entire fish, including the skin, the fat underneath it, and the white flesh, can be enjoyed by the consumer. 

During the spawning season, which lasts from winter to spring, sea bream is served. Sakuradai (cherry blossom sea bream), a red seabream that migrates frequently to the shore of the Seto Inland Sea to spawn, is very tasty and highly prized. 

The madai with the highest umami content has been identified using the Ikejime method, and after being kept in icing storage for a day, where it is gradually chilled and develops uniformly, a high level of umami is released.   

Red sea bream’s high concentration of the amino acid glycine is what gives it its sweetness. In comparison to tuna flesh, which only contains 50 mg of glycine per 100 g, sea bream meat has between 140 and 180 mg of glycine per 100 g. 

Not all madai are created equal. Fish that reside in oceans with strong currents are thought to have the best flavor. The Seto Inland Sea is renowned for its delectable madai and strong, turbulent tides. And it’s thought that the best madai is produced in the areas around Naruto and Akashi.  

Steinless steel tray full of delicious fresh sea fish. Red seabream (Madai), Emperor breams (Fuefukidai) and Tilefish (Amadai), ready to be cooked. 

Tai & Madai – Sea Breams

Tai and madai are frequently used synonymously. However, sea bream is more commonly referred to as tai. In Japan, there are several different forms of tai, including kurodai, kinmedai, and aodai. And madai is frequently regarded as the best.

How does it taste like?

Madai is firm but tender, like the majority of sea breams. It tastes light, sweet, and exceptionally pure. Madai in the wild is both rare and expensive. And it is considered to have an even sweeter flavor and more umami. Madai produced on farms is frequently softer and oilier.   

Madai Sashimi

Premium nigiri sushi - scallop, kanpachi, red seabream, aburi hotate, hamachi, yellow tail, madai 

Both nigiri and madai sashimi are widely consumed. Simple fish slices are used for this presentation. On the side, ponzu sauce is frequently used. Edomae’s signature dish is madai nigiri. Simple sushi rice with a tiny slice of sea bream. Wasabi is typically spread underneath the fish. 

Madai is frequently served uncooked. Chefs will occasionally leave the skin on and give the fish a quick blowtorch sear. A more conventional method is to swiftly cool the fish in an ice bath after splashing it with boiling water.   

Madai (Tai) sashimi’s fish skin serves as both the dish’s foundation and a key criterion for judging its excellence. Without the skin, Madai Tai sashimi lacks layers, which takes away from the experience and makes for a less pleasurable dining occasion. 

How do you make sashimi and what ingredients are needed?

  • Sashimi Grade Red Snapper Sea Bream- you can find it in Japanese supermarkets. 
  • Ginger – sliced or grated
  • Onion – finely chopped
  • Sesame seeds
  • Lemon
  • Ponzu 

Sliced sea bream should be served on a platter with shredded ginger and green onion on top of each piece of fish. Create a puddle of ponzu sauce on the side of the plate and serve right away. 

Madai nigiri

Edomae’s signature dish is madai nigiri. Simple sushi rice with a tiny slice of sea bream. Wasabi is typically spread underneath the fish. Madai is frequently served uncooked. Chefs will occasionally leave the skin on and give the fish a quick blowtorch sear.  

An older method involves dousing the fish in boiling water then fast cooling it in an ice bath.   

Drinks that are best pair for Madai 

Madai is categorized as a white fish kind. The fish in this unrelated class are all solid and have a moderate flavor. As long as they’re not very rich or strong, many beverages go well with them. Look for drinks with gentle flavors that won’t overpower the subtle madai flavors.  

There are many good white and sparkling wines. You can try light, dry wines like Savoie Apremont, Italian pinot grigio, and Muscadet. While many other wines will work, you should stay away from most oaked wines. 

The greatest match for sea bream in sushi and sashimi is a light beer with a mild hop bitterness. The majority of the traditional Japanese brands, especially Sapporo Premium and Asahi Super Dry, will work here.  

But in the end, how you enjoy your madai sashimi will always be up to you. You can decide whether to drink wine, beer, soda, or water, which is the healthiest option. 

Fun facts you need to know about Madai

  • Given that the Japanese consume a lot of fish, Madai is referred to as “the king of fish” and is well-known among them.
  • A large-sized madai can measure more than 1 meter in length, although a marketable one is often 35 to 40 centimeters long.  
  • Madai is estimated to have a lifespan of 20 to 40 years, which is considered to be fairly long when compared to other fish. 
  • Because of its brilliant red color and attractive shape, tai (sea bream) has long been used in festivals in Japan to bring good luck.
  • The fact that the term “tai” rhymes with the word “medetai” (happy), which means “celebration,” further supports its reputation as a party fish.


If you want to eat madai sashimi, you should be able to identify its distinctive flavors and textures. This will help you enjoy the dish as much as possible.