Shishamo (saltwater smelt) is a Japanese delicacy. It is eaten grilled or fried whole and served with its roe intact.
Shishamo (柳葉魚, “willow fish”), or Spirinchus lanceolatus, is a saltwater smelt native to Hokkaido (northern Japan). The name derives from the Ainu word for the fish susam, meaning “willow fish.”
It is a small fish, about 15 cm in length. The Japanese usually dry the fish and grill or fry it whole. Shishamo with the roe intact is called komochi shishamo (子持ちししゃも). You may see the dish at traditional Japanese restaurants or izakaya (Japanese gastropubs) as a side dish or snack with alcohol.
Recipes Using Shishamo
Where To Buy
You can find it in Japanese or Asian grocery stores sold in packages. It’s sold dried, and you need to deep fry or grill the fish first.