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What is White Tuna?

What is White Tuna?

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It’s not a secret that I love sushi and sashimi.  Sometimes I legit crave it, and need it ASAP.  There’s a sushi restaurant nearby that has pretty good food (not just sushi and sashimi, but good bento, ramen, and other Japanese dishes too).  At some point, I discovered this perfectly sized Sushi and Sashimi combination, and this has been my go to when I’m craving some sushi or sashimi.

The arrangement is quite delicious.  There’s 5 nigiri, 5 sashimi, and there is also a tuna sushi roll.  Now, everything is usually delicious and fresh, but there is one sashimi piece that tasted extra fat and buttery that I couldn’t identify.  I proceed to ask the waiter what this piece of fish is.  The response?

“White Tuna.”

If you’re very knowledgeable about fish or seafood, then you’re probably rolling your eyes right now… because you’re right – there is no such thing.  Let me say it again.  White Tuna is not a thing. So what is super white tuna?

Well, let’s back up for a second.  It’s a nick name… sometimes, it can (and you hope it’s this) refer to albacore white tuna or longfin tuna. But most of the time… it’s actually a fish called Escolar and this is the one you might have to worry about.

What is Escolar?  Escolar, aka snake mackerel or waloo, is a dark fast swimming fish that can not metabolize wax esters found in its diet.  Hence, escolars have a very high oil content. In fact, it’s chinese name is ‘油魚’ which literally translates to 油 = Oil 魚 = Fish.

What does this all mean?

This means it may be super tasty to many.  But is white tuna good for you? Unfortunately, not really. It’s so oily it can cause something called keriorrhea.  Don’t click on that if you’re eating.  Actually, don’t read this next sentence if you’re eating:  It’s basically greasy, orange colored diarrhea…


Well, I guess because it’s delicious? .  But since you can get upset stomach and diarrhea from it, it is recommended that you limit your escolar portions to 6 ounces or less.

Oh, and Fun fact:  Escolar has been banned in Italy and Japan.

Isn’t that fun that so many sushi restaurants here in the States sell it and are allowed to call it “White Tuna” instead?  I find that fun too.  Oh wait.  I don’t.

Still have an appetite?

seafood - fish - paleo

For some seafood you can enjoy without suffering keriorrhea… try these yummy recipes (if you still have an appetite):


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Sunday 24th of April 2022

An average piece of sushi is about 1 ounce for sashimi, half an ounce for a roll, I have it once a week, one piece along with whatever other sushi looks good, it’s an indulgence, absolutely buttery fish. Our waitress warned us not to eat too much of it so we enjoy a piece or two… moderation will introduce you to something pretty good.


Wednesday 24th of July 2019 I had NO idea. My oh my...I'm happy to know and will skip the "white tuna" next time.


Sunday 14th of March 2021

You shouldn't skip it, it is delicious. I had zero problems digesting it and have been eating escolar for years. The key is eating a small amount (one maki roll to test) to see how your system handles it. Some people may be sensitive to the wax esters in the fish, and because of that, get an upset stomach or suffer with a bought of diarrhea. If you're not one of those people, then you can eat "white tuna" and enjoy it's luxuriously fatty and smooth texture. I imagine the number of people who have had a bad reaction to escolar make up a very small percentage of the population to begin with, so it's a problem 95% of people don't ever experience in the first place.

Kevin T Huston

Monday 18th of March 2019

What the article doesn't say is that it's the most amazing fish. No other is as tasty as it is. Needless in your mouth. I eat 3 ounces at most and it's amazing. No stomach issues.


Monday 3rd of September 2018

I ork at a sushi restaurant. We sell “white tuna” all the time. No one has ever complained of indigestion to me before from this fish. I think the occurrence of sickness from it is less frequent than this article leads to believe.


Sunday 14th of March 2021

Exactly! I've learned to be very skeptical of local news reports. You'd be amazed at how much they exaggerate their stories. I imagine they're ruined a lot of lives with their sensationalism and poorly balanced "journalism". After all, they're literally in a ratings war with their local competitors, and as they say, there are no rules in love or war.

Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving

Wednesday 6th of September 2017

Oh gross! I had no idea and this changes Sushi for me :(