Engawa vs Hirame vs Karei: Japanese Flounders

As you know, “Engawa (えんがわ)” is a popular sushi topping from a Japanese flounder called “Hirame (ヒラメ)” or “Karei (カレイ)”.

Engawa in House

The ingredient was actually named after its shape like a corridor on the outer side of traditional Japanese houses called “Engawa (縁側)”.

Engawa vs. Hirame vs. Karei

Hirame Engawa Sushi

Engawa is the flounder’s muscle part for moving the fin, and Hirame and Karei are representative varieties of the flatfish often seen in Japan.

Hirame and Karei are very similar in appearance, and it’s hard to tell them apart if you don’t know them.

Hirame (ヒラメ)


Hirame is actually a left-eyed flounder with a big mouth and sharper teeth than Karei. This is because it mainly eats fish.

Hirame is a luxury fish generally pricier than Karei. Its Engawa is light-tasting with a more crunchy texture as the fish has strong muscles.

Engawa offered by traditional Japanese sushi restaurants is usually from this flounder.

Karei (カレイ)


On the other hand, Karei is a right-eyed flounder with a small mouth as it mainly eats invertebrates.

Karei is not aggressive and fatty compared to Hirame, and Engawa served in Kaiten (conveyor-belt) sushi restaurants is, in many cases, from this flounder.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia えんがわ, Excite E-Recipe )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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