Friday, July 6, 2007

Sushi Night

Last night I went out for sushi with some friends. I like to sit at the sushi bar and watch them prepare the food in front of me. While I enjoy sushi, I'm not especially adventurous. Usually I'll eat things like Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Maguro (Tuna), and Sake (Salmon). These are the more basic raw fish varieties over a ball of white rice. (The photo on the left are the things I usually eat). However, even though sushi is raw fish, my one rule is I never want to eat anything that I saw alive in the restaurant or worse, if it is still moving when served. This is exactly what my friends like to eat when we go for sushi.

These were alive just moments before I took these photos below:

Above left: Sweet Shrimp heads (with the eyes still on them). Above right: some fish that was swimming around and pulled out to be cooked in front of us...

Above: Sea Urchin. Although this one was not still moving last night, I've watched my friend eat the Sea Urchin before while the spines still twitch and move. Feeling utterly grossed out, I decided to seach the web for information on eating Sea Urchins, and lo and behold I found this on

"Sea Urchins are really not that bad, but it is a tad disgusting. In fact, it's kind of massaging to your hand, yet refreshingly gross. Here's how you can eat your own live sea urchin while it's still squirming:

Recommended Materials:
1. A large sharp knife, preferably over six inches long
2. One live sea urchin
3. A strong stomach and a steady heart

Turn the
sea urchin upside-down so that the mouth is face up. It may be easier to put it on a large rock or cutting board. Using your large knife, cut directly down the center of the urchin, cutting it almost in half. Stop cutting when you've almost cut through the shell, called the test. The sea urchin should now be cut in half, but still connected.

Open the sea urchin so that you can view inside both halves. Now there will be an
assortment of internal stuff inside, but on my particular species, we're looking for the yellow stuff. It's known as roe or "uni" in Japanese sushi bars. It's actually just the gonads of the urchin.

If you don't want to eat all that other junk, there's really only 2 ways to get around it. Either eat around it with the aid of chopsticks or your tongue, or splash it upside-down in the sea. That should clean out all the innards leaving the tasty roe, but will leave a salty flavor and may kill the urchin. (Remember, the whole fun in this is feeling and seeing the spikes move around while you suck out its insides)

Enjoy your live sea urchin!

TIP: If you want your sea urchin extra
squirmy, splash some sea water on it before starting the above steps. Watching a whole crate full of sea urchins helplessly fidget before their live consumption is quite a sight.

Advanced technique: If you want to make a nice decorative squirming bowl, take the following steps:

Place the sea urchin on its side, with the bottom facing in the direction of your knife hand. You'll have to hold it, so if it's too
sharp, then get a towel or gloves.
Slice off the bottom of the
test, or essentially the entire mouth. Do this carefully so that things don't get messy inside and you don't lose valuable sea urchin roe
After opening, it's more comfortable to eat with chopsticks, holding the squirming urchin bowl with your other hand."

Me? I think I'll just have a peanut butter and jam sandwich.

-Rick Rockhill


dickiebo said...

Make that 2 peanut butter & jam sarnies please.
Yuk! How can anybody eat these things?

michel said...

ugh yuck. I think those were banned here in Canada. not sure how you didn't hurl.

Jay said...

I've tried sushi, but just can't get into it. My brother in law and I used to go to a Japanese restaurant with a group of people who would all get sushi. We'd get our Salmon cooked. And concentrate mostly on that good rice moonshine. ;-)

Lori said...

I dont think I could eat a sea urchin.

Anonymous said...

I like sushi but not the wierd stuff either!!!!

Mimi Lenox said...

I think I'll just skip dinner now thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I've actually tried urchin before - right out of the ocean. The First Nations on the west coast of Canada call them 'tutsup' and they are a traditional food.

One of the elders smashed this poor thing open on the docks, scooped out this yellowish stuff (the eggs, I presumed?) and handed it to me.

It was like eating a warm cod liver oil pill.... definitely not my cup of tea! :-)

Blue Floppy Hat said...

My only rule as far as food goes is that it mustn't be alive when I ingest it. Some boundaries are just not meant to be crossed..

violetlady said...

I just had my pb&j and now I wish I hadn't. Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mags said...

I like sushi too, but not live urchin. It's good though when it's dead.

Wizened Wizard said...

Oooooooh... I thought I'd had a wide range of sushi, but try as I might, I can't remember ever eating anything that massaged my hand while I was gnawing on it. Nope. I couldn't enjoy that, because some of the rationale for eating any once-living creature is that it is now [before it hits my plate] dead and might as well have it's remains put to some use.

Interesting post! Now I'm hungry...

Snow White said...

Where I come from we call that "bait." I'll stick to the pb&j, but a nice juicy hunk of beef would be even better!

Desert Songbird said...

I prefer my seafood dead and cooked, thank you very much.

Sassy Blondie said...

I don't want to eat anything I saw alive either. I love sushi, but I don't get too exotic either. Creepy description from the website on that sea urchin though. Blegh!

HoosierGirl5 said...

I love sushi, but I just can't eat live sea urchin. Or anything live, for that matter.

Interesting post, though.


Palm Springs Savant said...

Snow White- I agree, I call it bait too!

Blue the Spa Girl said...

I won't enlighten you with the tale of when my best friends aunt went to Japan, and was served live monkey.
I became a vegetarian shortly thereafter hearing the story.
But having since gone back to eating meat, I too eat sushi, but the tamer stuff as well. Salmon, tuna and the good old California roll.
If it squirms however, give it a name and put the knife down people.

Anonymous said...

I myself have tried tutsup or sea urchin while visiting Vancouver Island. The way I experienced was probably a more traditional sense as I learned how to eat them from one of my Native Canadian friends. We were on Rainbow Beach and she told me to hunt around the rocks and tide pools for the purple sea urchins. When we found some good sized ones she showed me how to sharply crack them once against the rock and then drink the insides. She warned me not to taste it if I could help it. I enjoyed the experience as a social and cultural aspect but probably would never eat a sea urchin in a restaurant. Thanks for the cool post :)


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