Updated: July 27, 2018
0 Bookmark

Japanese Food "Uni": Here's How People Eat Sea Urchins In Japan

Uni is a Japanese food that is really gaining popularity in many parts of the world. Here's the essential information you need to know on uni and how it's eaten in Japan.

Feel free to follow favy!

Sea Urchins... A Delicacy?

Sea urchins are found in every ocean of the world, across many climate zones, from polar to tropical. So, if you've walked on a beach virtually anywhere on the planet, chances are you've once come across the spiky echinoderm.
For many people, what comes to mind when thinking of a sea urchin is a marine animal that leaves behind a beautiful exoskeleton that you can collect as a souvenir from the beach.
And for other people, sea urchins are above all synonymous to one of the most sublime delicacies found at sea. Sea urchins have been viewed as such for centuries by people of the Mediterranean, native Alaskans, and East Asians just to name a few.

Uni: Sea Urchins In Japan

Quite possibly more than anywhere else, Japan reveres the sea urchin as one of the most sublime delicacies there is. This shouldn't come as such a surprise when we think of how much Japanese cuisine relies on items that are found at sea.
The Japanese call "uni" 雲丹, which in their native language, is a combination of the character for cloud and a kind of rusty red. Uni, strictly speaking, refers to the animal's gonads. Each sea urchin gives five of these small pieces.
Taste-wise, the uni has an unmistakable deep savoury umami and a fresh salty taste form the sea. The texture is extremely soft; the little red clouds literally melt in your mouth the moment you bite into them. The sea taste and the creamy texture of uni are quite similar to that of salmon roe. Perhaps for that reason, they are often served together in Japan. You can have them together simply on a bed of rice. This is called an ikura-uni kaisendon.
Another popular way it is served is as a topping for a nigiri sushi. This is a staple that you can find in nearly all sushi restaurants in Japan. Although uni is considered a delicacy and is relatively expensive compared to other types of sushi neta (toppings), it is widely available because people love it so much. You can even find uni nigiri sushi at sushi train restaurant where a plate is typically between ¥300 and ¥600 for instance.
Prices can vary greatly based on the quality of the product, but typically, good quality uni will be sold around ¥4,000 per 100g. Boxes of uni kept refrigerated are even given as seasonal gifts in Japan.
At home, people can use them as a topping for pasta for instance. Combined with nori seaweed, it makes a delicious "wafu" (Japanese-style) type of pasta. It's not uncommon to see this dish on the menu of Italian restaurants in Japan.
Uni is gaining in popularity worldwide. It might seem a bit foreign if you've never had it but it's really not that strange. As a rule of thumb, if you like fish roe, you will likely like uni! You should definitely try it if you have the chance. In Japan, try to have it as part of a kaisendon (seafood bowl). You can surely find these at fish markets such as the famous Tsukiji Fish Market of Tokyo. Some seafood restaurants even specialize in uni dishes. Uni is truly a Japanese delicacy worth discovering if you have had it already.
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

Trending Posts


Mega Hamburg Steak of 1kg! "Steak no Kuishinbo" Caters To The Insatiable "Hambaagu" Meat Lover!


Try Some Blissfully Delicious Conger Eel At Ginza Hirai, Tokyo!


You Need To Try Sake Lees Ramen At Ginza Kazami In Ginza, Tokyo!


For A Whopping 360g Burger, Stop By Whoopi Goldburger In Shibuya, Tokyo!


"Rishotan Shosaikan" In Kinshicho, Tokyo: Chewy Rice Noodles In A Succulent, Rich Stew Made With Cubed Pieces Of Meat!

More Trending Posts

Recommended For You!


Trias Dining: A Lovely Dining Experience in Shibuya, Tokyo!


Want To Try Local Japanese Tempura And Soba Noodles?


Charlar Bar in Shibuya, Tokyo: Great Place To Come Chat With Your Friends While Enjoying Great Food And Drinks!

Lili Wanderlust

Ton Shabu Hide: Exquisite Shabu Shabu Restaurant In Kyoto


American Steak For Less Than ¥1,000 At Canyon City Steak House In Akihabara, Tokyo


Featured Posts

Halal Restaurants In Japan!

Things to do in Japan in all regions!

Exploring Yokocho Alleys: a Guide to the Back Streets!

More Features


100,000 Sunflowers at Kiyose 2018 Sunflower Festival, Tokyo

Aug 18, Sat ~ Aug 28, Tue

Yoshitaka Amano Final Fantasy Exhibition In Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Aug 10, Fri ~ Sep 02, Sun

2018 Guide to Fireworks Festivals in Japan!

Jul 24, Tue ~ Oct 06, Sat

Smirnoff Midpark Cafe 2018 For A Chill Summer Night In Roppongi!

Jul 13, Fri ~ Aug 26, Sun

Enjoy Summer In Tokyo! Smirnoff Midpark Cafe At Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi!

Jul 13, Fri ~ Aug 26, Sun

Trending Tags