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Toro means a live sex show, in Filipino slang. In foodie language, though, Toro is the Japanese word for the fatty belly of the tuna. And is it better than sex? Hm, I don’t know about that but it sure can come as a close second!

Otoro — cut from the lower belly of the tuna towards the head. Priceless!

Otoro — cut from the lower belly of the tuna towards the head. Priceless!

The toro is traditionally classified into grades, depending on the marbling of the meat, in much the same way that beef is graded. And the most premium, most desired, and most expensive part of the toro is the otoro, which is cut from the underside of the fish close to the head, preferably taken from the bluefin tuna. It is so expensive that otoro is seldom found in the menus of local ordinary Japanese restaurants. I first experienced the divine deliciousness of the otoro at Azami (on Pasay Road, Makati). One order of it, which is only about 5 pieces of sashimi, can set you back by around P2,000.00! Each pop in your mouth is 400-bucks! But, omigod, I say it’s worth every peso! Otoro is so creamy-rich and delicious that it epitomizes that incredible melt-in-your-mouth yumminess. The texture and the flavor are so far from the typical tuna sashimi you’ve ever tasted, trust me. The difference, of course, lies in the fat. Otoro is pink (not red, like the akami or maguro cut), with discernible white lines of fatty tissue cutting across it. Think liempo with layers of belly fat in between the meat. It is definitely worth experiencing, even just once in your food-loving life.

Akami — less marbled and firmer in texture, it comes from the area around the tuna's spine and tail. It used to be the most prized cut around 90 years ago ... until OTORO!

Akami — less marbled and firmer in texture, it comes from the area around the tuna’s spine and tail. It used to be the most prized cut around 90 years ago … until OTORO!

Spicy Tuna Sashimi

Spicy Tuna Sashimi

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