Tuna belly is a food item that is commonly listed on sushi menus as toro. It has a pink and white marbleized appearance and may be served raw or slightly cooked. Toro may be served with rice and is often enjoyed with wasabi and soy sauce. Compared with other sushi items, it is usually among the most expensive and is considered a delicacy by many people. Factors that affect the enjoyment of the food include the portion of the belly served, the temperature of it when it is consumed, and its freshness.
The main culinary use of tuna belly is to make sushi. It is generally considered to be one of the more desirable sushi items. Tuna belly is often served as nigiri, which is a slice of food served over a mound of vinegared rice. Some people prefer it as sashimi, which is a slice of the food without the rice.
In either case, the toro can be raw, or it can be singed. If it is to be eaten raw, it is generally recommended that it be allowed to reach room temperature before consumption. Doing so is said to allow an individual to better enjoy both the texture and flavor. Toro has high fat content; hence its marbelization. It is also an oily food with high omega-3 content.
Much of the excitement about tuna belly is likely to be its cost. It tends to be expensive due in part to the fact that only a limited amount is available from each fish. Furthermore, all tuna belly is not considered to be equal. The lower area is normally referred to as supreme tuna belly, and it is considered to be the most succulent due to fat content that is higher than the rest of the belly. This part of the toro tends to be even more expensive.
Tuna belly is a food whose price can be very volatile. The cost may be dependent on a number of factors, such as the location of where it is caught and the location of the end consumer. One of the factors that tends to weigh heaviest on the price, however, is the number of fish obtained on a given day. Toro is commonly taken from the blue fin variety of tuna.
Freshness is considered essential to the enjoyment of this food. It is often shipped overnight from seller to buyer, further adding to the cost in many cases. Though much effort and expense is invested in it, toro was not always highly regarded. In fact, it was once a part of the fish that was considered highly undesirable and was readily discarded.