Why Ora King Salmon Is So Special

by Cody-May Campbell December 02, 2022 2 min read

Why Ora King Salmon Is So Special

At Hagen’s, we proudly offer Ōra King salmon from New Zealand King Salmon. What is Ōra King salmon? In their words, “Ōra King is to salmon as Wagyu is to beef.”

Salmon really doesn’t get better than this.

Salmon is one of the world’s most popular and premium species of fish. Most producers around the world farm Atlantic salmon, but in New Zealand, King salmon is the only breed to be raised commercially.

King salmon (also known as Chinook) is the largest, most valuable type of salmon, the highest in fat and Omega-3 fatty acids. Native to North-East Asia and North America, they were introduced as game fish in New Zealand during the 19th century, and became prized for their incredible, flavourful qualities.

Salmon are ‘anadromous’ fish, meaning they are born in freshwater, live their lives at sea in salt water, then return to freshwater to spawn. Emulating this lifecycle isn’t done in Atlantic salmon farms, but it’s an absolute priority for those at New Zealand King Salmon, and gives rise to their ‘open ocean farming’.

“Salmon farming is one of the most efficient forms of animal food production in the world. And with our seafarms occupying just 0.03% of the Marlborough Sounds, it’s safe to say we’re treading lightly.”— New Zealand King Salmon

For over 25 years, they have been perfecting sustainable husbandry practices with an expert breeding programme that results in their own unique breed, Ōra King — genetically distinct from any other King salmon in the world, including New Zealand itself.

Ōra King salmon eggs are nurtured and hatched in fresh water that has been verified as some of the cleanest in the world. They are transported to the crystal clear Marlborough Sounds, where they can mature in fast-flowing seawater just like their wild cousins. Once mature, a master grader classifies only the best as Ōra King salmon, and tags them for traceability. 

Our favourite ways to enjoy this unparalleledŌra King salmon are to cure or bake it, and we already have the perfect recipes online for you to follow along with this Christmas.

Based on a recipe by Magnus Nilsson, this Scandinavian classic is a versatile showstopper that’s amazing on its own or as part of your seafood spread.

Gin-Cured Salmon Gravlax


This recipe by Clementine Day is far simpler than you may think. Once it’s done, you “look really good at your work Christmas party because you brought fancy little rye crackers with your own cured salmon.” It’s fantastic!

Beet & Vodka-Cured Salmon


Easy and delicious, this recipe allows the subtle flavours of the Ōra King salmon to really shine.

Lemon Herb Baked Salmon