Maruyama Nori is a nori specialty store established in 1855 and located in Tsukiji, Tokyo. It is a store that has the trust of many top chefs, including a Michelin 3 star sushi restaurant. Their stable quality has earned the trust of about 3000 restaurants around the nation. Nori is a natural product, which makes it difficult to maintain the same quality. And yet, Maruyama continues to always deliver the same premium quality products.
The buyer, Akihiko Sakurai shared that “our motivation is the pressure of being able to meet the expectations of the top professionals”. He has more than 30 years of experience in his trade. Traveling to ports around the nation and tasting their offerings, he continues his search for the perfect product for his various clients. Tokyo, Setouchi and Ariake are the 3 main areas of production, and he purchases the young nori which is still tender.
“The seeds are planted in oysters, then the seedlings are planted on nets in the fall when the water temperature reaches about 14-18 degrees. Usually, nori is picked in November or December when it grows to about 20cm, but we pick early when its still only about 5-10cm. This allows us to produce nori that almost melts away in your mouth.” (Sakurai)
The factory is located in Ibaraki, in the Tsukuba Mirai facility. Nakata was very impressed with the firing process. Maruyama alternates between low and high heat, firing for about 3 and a half hours at each temperature, twice as long as other producers.
The baking time and temperature are adjusted based on the sodium content and thickness of the nori, as well as the conditions of the particular day such as temperature and humidity. Premium nori is very delicate, and the sweetness is brought out at the low temperature.
The flavor of nori is affected by how it is baked, as well as the characteristics of the production site. For instance, nori from Tokyo Peninsula often called “Asakusa nori” has a hint of bitterness within the sweetness, a firm texture and has a distinct aroma of “aonori” when it is lightly fired, because aonori naturally adheres to the nori in the water. Nori from Setouchi has a black shine and is very durable, making it ideal for “futomaki” rolls. Nori from Ariake has a very rich flavor, a fresh aroma and is both soft and sharp in texture. This characteristic stands out particularly well in the brand “Saga no hashiri”. “Hashiri” means “seasonally fresh”, and this brand is highly recommended for those who want to learn about the particulars of nori. In the series, “First generation Hikobei” was awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture、Forestry and Fisheries on three occasions. “Kontobi” is a mix of nori and “aonori” and resembles the traditional nori.
Nakata’s favorite was the premium “suji aonori” grown in Yoshinogawa in Tokushima. The distinct flavor of aonori spreads throughout your mouth, then a pleasant, herb-like bitterness lingers as you swallow. The production is very limited, and it is often sold for even more than the premium “uni (sea urchin)”, but just a small amount in miso soup or on top of fried noodles is a wonderful way to enjoy it at home. Nori is truly varied and versatile, and can be enjoyed in many different ways that bring out the unique characteristics. Comparing different varieties may be a fun activity, because it is an ingredient that is truly profound.
- Maruyama Nori Co., Ltd. Tsukiji HQ
- 4-7-5 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- TEL 03-3541-0223
- URL https://www.maruyamanori.com