Nom Nom Tabemono

Bosphorus Mackerel

By Katerina Skarbinec

When I was at university I lived a couple of blocks down from a mile-long stretch of restaurants. You could find such a huge variety of food – Indian, Chinese, Nepalese, Turkish – that it was like having the entire world at your doorstep.

However, when you live in Japan for an extended period of time and start getting tired of ramen or katsudon or yakiniku, where do you go to find something different? Most neighbourhoods have a couple of foreign food restaurants dotted around, but foreign food in Japan is often tailored to Japanese tastes (corn on pizza, for one thing). As a result, it can lack a sense of authenticity.

Lately, a lot of things have been reminding me of home. One of the things I miss most is the food, and the surprising varieties that you can find in even a small area. Being in Japan with limited international dining options, I’ve started trying to broaden my horizons and experiment with different flavours at home. I actually came across this recipe on Cookpad (a fantastic site for recipes, for anyone who doesn’t know), submitted by a Japanese person who did their residence abroad in Istanbul. It’s super quick and easy to prepare, and also makes for a great lunch.

To make enough for two, you will need:

1 baguette (make it the nicest bread you can find)

2 fillets of mackerel

½ onion

1 small tomato

½ lemon (use a whole one if your lemons are particularly tiny)

olive oil

salt and pepper

pinch of flour


  1. Season the mackerel by coating both sides with salt, pepper and a thin layer of flour.
  2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, then add the fish and cook until both sides have browned and are crispy.
  3. Lightly toast the bread in the oven for a couple of minutes. Be careful as this can make Japanese baguettes flake into millions of sharp crumbs. Cut the baguette in half and make a deep slice in each half, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will help keep the filling inside.
  4. Slice the onion and tomato into rings.
  5. Open the bread up and add the mackerel, onion and tomato.
  6. Sprinkle plenty of lemon juice over the top. Your sandwich is done!

To get the real Istanbul flavour, you want to use as much onion as you possibly can. Enjoy!

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One thought on “Bosphorus Mackerel

  1. Pingback: September 2015, Vol. 2 | Good Morning Aomori produced by Aomori AJET

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