Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sea Urchin: A Question

What do you do when you are offered a food that you know is potentially gross but may be the only chance you have to eat it for free? You plunge in and don't look behind you. It was offered during a cultural field trip we had last week. I found sea urchin, which was offered up straight from the ocean, to be pudding-like and tasted of the ocean from which it came. It wasn't offensive as I have found other raw sealife to be. I'm curious about how common this particular experience is and I have a question:

How many of you people out there have tasted sea urchin and how was it served if you did?

not everyone was thrilled with the cultural experience


Crazy Gaijin said...

Hi Nerissa

I was just talking today to some teachers about soft serve ice-cream. I saw some wasabi soft cream (soft cream is what the Japanese call it), and also some shoyu (soy sauce) flavoured soft cream. One of them told me that a student said he had eaten sea urchin soft cream. They aren't sure whether he is telling the truth or not though, so it coul be a lie!

s'kat said...

I've never had sea urchin, raw or otherwise; still, I'd be game for a taste!

Sara said...

you are braver than me! i don't know if i could eat that.

bernard said...

Hi Nerissa
I did it !
In France they are served raw just cut in two parts in a "plateau de fruits de mer".
But only the orange part (the "tongue") has to be eaten.
The appropriate sauce to go with is a dry white wine.
Your urchin seems bigger than the ones we have here.

bernard said...

michelle said...

Sweet Nerissa, I hope your health is back to normal? I haven't actually tried sea urchin like this, but I would if someone who had was out in the intertidal with me! Although I like to count myself as an 'adventurous' type, when I'm out there doing field work, I just don't have the guts to grab one and crack it open - I'm not sure I would know what part to eat! Maybe someday!

Nerissa said...

CrazyG: Nice to see you here again :) I wonder about the uni ice cream. It wouldn't surprise me. I've heard of places that sell all kinds of weird stuff : garlic ice cream, hot chile ice cream... Wasabi makes sense so why not try something soft like sea urchin, right?

s'kat: It certainly is an experience. Especially so if it is eaten a few feet from the place it once called home. Go for it some time if you can :D

sara: It wasn't a matter of bravery at all LOL. It was a matter of not thinking about it and just swallowing

Ah, papa: I'm not surprised that you've had it. Thanks for the information, the suggested sauce and the website. :D

michelle: I'm doing better, thank you. It's sweet for you to ask. I understand what you mean. I don't know if I would have done it if I was on my own or with people who didn't know it. Besides, I felt I had a chance to impress the elders on the trip LOL. I once, some years ago, had a chance to help with smoking sea lion meat. I was cutting and cutting for two hours. I remember with distinct pride what my hostess said the elders had said of me: "That one wouldn't starve in the wilderness. She works hard" referring to others in my group who were too squeamish to try.
I've wanted another pat on the head from Native elders ever since.

PatL said...

Hi, Nerissa, I just discovered your blog and was pleased and surprised to see you've already discovered mine! Thank you for linking to me, and I will return the favor!

Yes, I've had sea urchin, as sushi, on a bit of rice surrounded by seaweed with the urchin slopping around a bit from its perch atop.


Glad I tried it, won't try it again!!


Nerissa said...

Hi PatL: Yes, I did drop by your place. :D

Ah yes... i've yet to have uni on sushi but I just may pursue it now that i've had a bite in the wild.

To each their own I guess *S*

Melissa CookingDiva said...

You are so brave :-) I have not had it yet---I'll keep you posted on it!
Un abrazo,

Jasmine said...

Hi Nerissa -- nice blog--especially like the "reaction shot." (g)

Thanks for visiting me! If you want to know where I got my ice cream maker, please email me.

As for urchin, never had one, but I am curious :)


Minor Fast Days said...

I'm half Japanese, and I grew up having my Japanese father try to get me to eat it. It is sooo gross.

Nerissa said...

Melissa: Thanks for the compliment. Hope you have a chance soon :D

jasmine: Thanks for droppin' in. I'll give you a shout about the icecream maker. Oh, and do try urchin at least once. Then at least you can say you tried ;-)

akira: To each their own! :D

obachan said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. :)
I’ve tried sea urchin a couple of times before. I had heard a lot about it beforehand like how creamy and tasty it is and how expensive it is, etc., so when I first ate not-so-fresh sea urchin on not-so-expensive sushi with a big expectation, I was disappointed. It was just fishy, not tasty. But when I ate sea urchin on one of the appetizers of an expensive Japanese course meal, it was just heavenly! You are lucky to have tasted sea urchin that fresh.

BTW, there is such a thing as sea urchin ice cream and “soft cream” here in Japan.
Sea urchin ice cram (see the illustration next to a crab) in Hokkaido.

Sea urchin soft cream in Kyushu (see the top photo).

Nerissa said...

Thanks for the information, Obachan. I do feel lucky to have eaten some so fresh and for free! Some of the foods in the ocean around the village are quite expensive in Japan, I understand: herring eggs on kelp, sea urchins and sea cucumber.

Easily Pleased said...

YUMMMMMMM! i have only had sea urchin as Uni - as sushi in a japanese restaurant. and when it's fresh, it is heaven. it is a fantasy of mine to have some straight from the sea right out of the shell.... you are so lucky!!!!!