It's a chilly 35 degrees in the fish-cutting room at the new state-of-the-art headquarters of Samuels & Son Seafood in South Philadelphia's wholesale fish market.
Two workers carefully lift the beautiful, shiny, silvery-blue, torpedo-shaped, 196-pound tuna from its coffin-shaped foam air-freight container onto the worktable.
This ultra-luxury bluefin tuna called Kindai is flown in weekly from Japan for Samuels to sell to chefs who pay about $40 to $50 per pound to serve it, usually as sushi, ceviche, or crudo.
One of the company's top cutters, Pham Mung, carefully dissects the fish into custom-cut sections, with the super-fatty bottom loin, or otoro, the most expensive. The silky, buttery, luminous flesh is deep red, almost purple, with a beautiful texture and a pure and vivid taste.
But this bluefin tuna was not caught in the open sea; it began its life as an egg in a lab at a Japanese university and is now being offered at some of the finest local restaurants serving sushi and crudo, including Morimoto, Zama, and Vetri in Center City and Fuji in Haddonfield.
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