Tuna Tataki: The Definitive Food Guide

6 min readMar 14, 2020

Introduction to Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki is a light appetizer that is totally safe to eat and it is highly nutritious. Generally it is served in restaurants and sushi bars made from albacore tuna. Which according to this source is low in calories and contains high omega 3 and vitamin B.

Meanwhile albacore tuna is a common ingredient not for making the tataki. But it is also an ingredient that is popular in Japan for making sashimi and sushi. Before the tuna is used for making food it is flash frozen by fishermen when it is catched in the sea to prevent parasites.

However, despite its wonderful taste you should still be aware of bioaccumulation of mercury. Since high levels of mercury through over-consumption can create many serious health issues. So consumption of tuna tataki should not exceed the daily recommended limits.

Generally the way the tuna is cooked is by searing the outside of the fish with hot flame while leaving the inside of the fish raw. Following with some drizzling of refreshing condiments such as ponzu sauce to make tataki a wonderful treat for foodies.

Secondly, another method of cooking is through chopping the tuna into small pieces. Follow with garnishes to be mixed with the chopped pieces such as garlic, ginger, or shiso leaves. Lastly the drizzling of some flavoring condiments like coconut amino or soy sauce.

What Does Tuna Tataki Taste Like

Firstly tuna tataki is very much like tuna tartare, sea urchin, raw shrimp, and doesn’t have any fishy taste to it. But when served with citrus based soy sauce, you can instantly taste the kick of flavor from the citrus juice as you bite into the meat.

Meanwhile the tuna should have a naturally pungent aroma that’s rather meaty. Furthermore the tuna has this flavor that has a bit of saltiness and with a distinct subtle tang to it. Contrasting with less of the fishy seafood odor than from canned tuna.

Meanwhile the taste of the tuna tataki is not always the same. Since some recipes call for certain types of fish which brings an altogether different flavor.

Contrasting to the other types of tuna, albacore tuna has the most mildest flavor to its meat. Meanwhile the skipjack tuna has the strongest flavor to it as well as the highest fat content. Another common tuna that is often used is the yellow fish which is a bit stronger than albacore in flavor.

Is Tuna Tataki Raw?

Tataki uses the same type of meat as sashimi which is 100% raw. Meanwhile, for some recipes it calls for the outside crust or trimmed loin to be quickly seared. So even though the outside bit is slightly cooked, it is still raw in the middle.

Is Tuna Tataki Keto?

Additionally, a 280 cal tuna tataki is totally keto because it is a dish made from meat that only has 16 g of carbohydrates. While it has 28 g of protein and 11 g of fat.

Although Tuna Tataki is a simple dish that is keto friendly, sadly tataki by itself is pretty boring. Hence it is often served with non-keto meals like rice to really add some flavor is to it or made it into sushi.

Is Tuna Tataki Gluten Free?

Firstly tuna tataki is made from tuna which is gluten free meat. However it is often drizzled with gluten condiments like soy sauce which is dangerous to the health of people with celiac disease. Although you can just as easily make homemade tataki and add your own condiments that are gluten free.

What to Eat With Tuna Tataki

Generally tuna tataki is served on the side with a simple and light bowl of salad. Also some edamame, miso soup, and a fiber rich bowl of rice.

However the tuna also tastes great with some healthy crispy sesame green beans. Which is easy to make and takes little effort to add to the meal to create a beautiful dinner meant to be shared.

But there are also other nutritional vegetables that provide a nice texture. Following, some great ideas include hearty vegetables like cauliflower, cooked carrots, onions, beets, and sweet potato.

Nonetheless, don’t restrict yourself with vegetables as a side dish. Another great recipe is mashed potato cakes, made using mashed potatoes into a cake by lightly frying it in oil. Furthermore mixing it with vegetables like baby spinach or adding garlic shoots.

Tuna Tataki vs Tuna Tartare

Firstly the biggest difference between tuna tartareand tataki is that tartare is not just raw meat. Instead it is finely chopped into square pieces, that is to be layered in a cylinder shape resembling a small cake with avocado on the bottom.

Furthermore there also seasonings on top, which is generally either parsley or onions. Which really is there to add a different mix of flavors to the pure taste of the raw meat.

Meanwhile unlike Tataki which is eaten by itself, tartare is served along with bread. For placing the raw square pieces of tuna meat on the bread along with the avocado for contrast to the texture.

Tataki vs Tuna Carpaccio

Although they’re both flavorful for appetizers, carpaccio is a more thinly sliced dish of meat or fish. Instead of being simply referred to only slices of animal meat, it also includes sliced vegetables and fruits.

Generally carpaccio is made from sliced tenderloin, Which is then pounded with a heavy weight to produce a flat surface. And even though tataki can also be made from tenderloin it has a more thicker texture.

Tataki vs Ahi Tuna

Ahi tuna is a type of sashimi that is made from bigeye tuna and is served by lightly searing the outside of the fish like tataki. Hence it leaves the inside of the meat tender and downright raw.

And the name “ahi tuna” not only refers to a type of sashimi that is made using the bigeye tuna. Moreover it can refer to another type of tuna: the yellowfin tuna.

But ahi tuna despite the many similarities with yellowfin is actually a different type of fish. Firstly the ahi tuna has a longer lifespan the yellowfin tuna. Secondly the ahi tuna has more developed oxygen capability that enables it to live in areas of low oxygen.

Best Tuna for Tataki

Generally tuna tataki is made from albacore tuna. But skipjack tuna is also a very popular option for tuna tataki and makes up about 70% of canned or pouched tuna.

Comparatively the skipjack tuna has a more fishy taste to it than the albacore tuna. Meanwhile albacore tuna has a milder taste to it and less mushy texture than skipjack.

Now in terms of physical appeal the albacore tuna has a more firmer texture with a lighter colored flesh. While a good quality skipjack tuna has this deep red color to its flesh.

However when you compare the skipjack with the yellowfin tuna, the skipjack tuna has a more pronounced taste to its flavor. And it also has less calories per fillet than yellowfin.