Open and Eat the Freshest Sea Urchin in Sai Village!
Have you ever tried raw sea urchin? I mean, the freshest and delicious one just collected from the sea! EVEN Japanese people (country of Sushi) occasionally misunderstand the taste of sea urchin. Imported or frozen sea urchin is soaked in alum water for preservation and disinfection, which makes the taste rather bitter and awful. Since reasonable sea urchin you can buy at supermarkets or can eat at the reasonable belted sushi restaurants are mostly imported ones, people think sea urchin tastes bitter and regard as “learn to like” kinda food. No, the taste of sea urchin is sweet, rich and creamy!!! As you may know, sea urchins are a delicacy in Japan. Today I’d like to introduce one of the best way to enjoy the freshest sea urchin in Sai-village.
Sai-light cruise ship is operating three times a day from the Sai Port, which takes you to Hotokegaura. Only the passengers of this ship are applied to the “Open and Eat Sea Urchin” optional hands-on from May 1 to July 31, during the best season of sea urchin. It is only 1,050 yen to open and eat 5 pieces of sea urchin. I want to say it is incredibly reasonable!
Tools, aprons, gloves and everything else you need to open the sea urchins were provided. There were some instruments I didn’t quite understand how to use them. BTW Please don’t continue to read this if you don’t like messy pictures.
The instructor told me to use the instrument like this…..
Then squeese handles together….
Wow- this tool is great! I didn’t even have to touch the spines to break open it.
Next, you have to scoop out the orange gonads, the edible parts of sea urchin. I thought there must have been a special tool to scoop out the gonads, but unexpectedly, we got this one. Plastic spoon, definifitely the high quality tool!
Have you focused on the sea urchin served at sushi bars? The shape of orange gonads have to be perfect as they are, which means you can’t scrape up roughly. The instructor told us to try to scoop out beautifully and but quickly like the selling products. The gonads are thoroughly attached to the shell and it was a little difficult to finish promptly.
Here is my work – well done for the first time! Then you have to remove black innards and seaweeds that sea urchin ate. I heard sea urchins eating good kelp taste better and get more expensive as products.
Finally, put the prepared sea urchin in the container and we are done! Considering this amount of effort and time it takes to collect and to prepare, I now understand why sea urchins are a bit pricy.
I ate my sea urchin as “Sea-Urchin Rice Bowl”, serving sea urchin over rice and seaweed. This is very popular way to eat raw sea urchin in Japan, with wasabi and soy sauce.
To be honest, I’m not a country lover, but I feel so happy and blessed when I eat the fresh, safe and delicious foods in Aomori. Since Aomori is surrounded by the sea on three sides, you can actually enjoy delicious sea urchin in other areas too. But if you ever visit Shimokita Peninsula in early summer, please don’t fail to eat sea urchin!
Sai-light Cruise Ship for Hotokegaura
Route: Sai Port – Hotokegaura(30 min tour) – Sai Port
Period of Operation in 2010 : April 20 – October 31
Fare per Person: One-way 1,200yen Round-Trip 2,300yen
Time Schedule: Departing Sai Port at 9:00am, 10:40am and 1:40pm(subject to cancel due to the bad weather)
Optional, Preparing Sea Urchin Hands-on
Period: May 1 – July 31 around 12:10pm – 1:40pm
Place: Tsugaru Straits cultural Hall “Arusasu”(located in the area of Sai Port)
Fee: 1,050yen for 5 pieces of sea urchin(only for hands-on, not for sale)
Reservation: 5 days prior to your desired date
Contact: TEL 0175-38-4513 Sai Teiki Kanko Corporation(not confirmed if speaking in English is available)