Number 50: Sea Urchin

30 Jun

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “I thought sea urchins were tiny spiky balls- what is that orange goo?”  That orange goo, my lovely reader, is what many people refer to as sea urchin roe (eggs).  However, what you’re ACTUALLY eating is sea urchin gonads.  Yes, gonads.

I will admit that when I first heard the term gonads, I thought it meant…well…balls.  That’s half true.  In male organisms, the gonads are the testes, but in female organisms, the gonads are the ovaries.  That means I basically had a sushi roll full of reproductive organs.

But before we get to talking about how gonads taste, let’s talk about where exactly I got this strange sushi roll.  There’s a restaurant near my place called Sushi Station and it’s a Kaiten-style sushi restaurant.  This means that the sushi travels around the restaurant on a conveyor belt and you grab what you want as it goes by!  Awesome.  Each plate is color-coded so you know how much each item costs, and the plates could be filled with everything from nigiri to maki rolls to mochi to seaweed salads.

What I love about this place is that you can go there for a little snack and spend $3, or you can sit there for hours and feast- like I prefer to do- and leave $50 poorer.  When Dan and I go, we usually eat about 10-12 plates of food (they’re little!)  This time, we only had 8 and I was very proud of us.

There are also servers there to get you drinks and take your order if you’d like to have something off the menu.  This is handy if you have your heart set on something, but you  haven’t seen it go around the conveyor belt (or if you’ve seen it, but you’re too impatient to wait for it to go around again.)  I had to special order the sea urchin, which is known as uni.  It’s the one item in the restaurant that they have a limited quantity of and is sold at market price.  I think I paid $6 for two pieces, so it really wasn’t that bad, considering it’s a delicacy in many countries.

Biting into the uni was…interesting.  It was very creamy, a bit rich, and VERY fishy.  As you can see from the first photo, it has a strange texture and is both mushy and bumpy at the same time.  It almost has the texture of the surface of your tongue.  The aftertaste was lingering, in a bad way, and I was desperate to move onto other dishes afterwards.

THE VERDICT
If you hate fishy-tasting food, you will DESPISE sea urchin.  The semi-unpleasant aftertaste, coupled with the creamy texture, left me longing for a fresh piece of salmon just so I could clear my palate.  And when you find yourself craving raw salmon to get rid of the taste of fish in your mouth, something is wrong with that picture.  It certainly wasn’t offensive, but I don’t think gonads will be on the menu for me again anytime soon.

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10 Responses to “Number 50: Sea Urchin”

  1. IntenseGuy June 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I think I’ll just pass on this one. LOL! Can I substitute a Krispy Kreme for this?

  2. Erin June 30, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Eeeek! That looks and sounds disturbing! You are one brave girl!!

    PS- totally bought the “My favorite DJ is DJ Tanner” shirt for my friend for her bday!! (She is a fellow Full House Fanatic!)

  3. Miss Angie June 30, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    UNI! NOooooooooo!

    I have had this and it was NASTY!

    My cousin bill is from hong kong and he loves it. It’s bitter and chalky and yick-and I love fishy stuff. This was repugnant!

    But conveyor belt sushi sounds amazing.

  4. Big Onion July 1, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    So gross. Last time I had it, it was like chewing on spit. Bleh.

    You’re a brave soul, but it looks like you still got some nasties to get through on your list.

  5. Laura in Cancun July 1, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    I’m not enticed by the sea urchin, but the Sushi Station looks friggin awesome!

  6. Amy July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I’ve never had gonads before. Interesting… I’ve heard of those Kaiten-style sushi restaurants before but never actually seen one. You will have to show me the ways of the conveyor belt sushi

  7. Allison @ PickyEatingRD July 4, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    OMG – soooo soooo sooo gross. It looks gross to me made worse by the way you describe its taste lol!

  8. Monique July 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Sea Urchin is a HUGE delicacy in France! I saw it in markets everywhere and read about the spongy orange texture, but never was brave enough to try it myself.

  9. c.c. July 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    i finally, FINALLY got your stuff in the mail. so in a week or so you should receive some fine dining/entertaining. yay. :]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Number 82: Eggs Benedict | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - March 26, 2012

    […] I’m thinking to myself, “I have handled raw pig intestines, killed a live lobster, eaten sea urchin gonads, and traveled across the country to dine on roadkill, and a run-of-the-mill breakfast dish is […]

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