What is Hamachi Kama and How to Eat It?

What is Hamachi Kama or Hamachi Collar?

Hamachi Kama (はまちのカマ) is the collar of the yellowtail located just above the gills and below the head. It is the fattiest part of the fish, making it naturally juicy, and there are two located in each yellowtail (one per side). Typically, Hamachi is grilled or broiled until the skin is crisp and the inside is just cooked through. You can easily scrape the flesh off the cartilage with chopsticks.

How are Hamachi Kama and Japanese Yellowtail different?

There are several names for this fish—Hamachi, Buri, Yellowtail, or Japanese Amberjack. What’s the difference? It all comes down to the age and size of the fish, and different regions of Japan will also name the fish based on the way it was caught (farmed vs. wild-caught). No matter what name you see on the menu, the raw fish should have pale pink flesh with a stripe of deep red coloring.

Yellowtail Sashimi

Grilled Hamachi Kama or Hamachi Collar


What are the flavor profiles of Hamachi Kama?

The flavor of the yellowtail collar is subtle and “clean.” The juicy texture of the meat can be compared to mackerel, but the taste is much milder. If you’ve tried fresh hamachi sashimi, you know the flavor is delicate, rich, and slightly sweet.  

Is Hamachi Kama Good for you?

Hamachi, or yellowtail, offers a number of nutritional benefits. Because it is a naturally oily fish, it is high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), which are important for brain and heart health. This fish is also particularly high in vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium. Like all seafood/meat, it’s important to buy good quality (it makes a difference in the flavor, too!), and only consume raw hamachi if you know it is “sashimi quality”.

How to Cook Hamachi Kama?


1 Hamachi Collar
1 Tbs butter – cut into pieces
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
2 Tbs of Ponzu
2 Tbs Green Onions
Lemon wedge

How to cook:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Rinse fish and pat dry.
  3. Place fish in an oven-safe pan.
  4. Place butter over the fish and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. The fish is ready when the outer edge becomes nice and crispy.  Serve the fish with a lemon wedge and a side of Ponzu with green onions.


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