I still remember the first time I tried uni sashimi. The sister and I were at Teriyaki Boy Gateway and we were curious about this new item on the menu only labeled Uni. When we asked what it was and ordered it from the restaurant manager, he stammered “Sigurado kayo Ma’am?” (“Are you sure?”). We told him we were and off we ordered.
In the ocean, it appears as a black sphere covered in long spikes (As found here).It’s the thing boatmen tell you to avoid stepping on as each of these spikes contain poison, which commonly are treated by peeing on the affected area. Yes guys, it’s the dreaded sea urchin (if you’ve ever gone to Coron in Palawan, you’ll know what I mean. Those buggers were everywhere we went).
Its appearance can even out of the shell can be intimidating, just lumps of beige things that looked like sand. We were given plenty of calamansi to dip it in before our kikkoman+wasabi combo. After my first gulp, I remember saying it tasted like you licked the bottom of a boat.
Now it’s one of my favorite things to order in a Japanese place. The picture above is a bowl of Unidon from Omakase, a bowl of sushi rice laden with a generous offering of uni, with some pickled ginger on the side. Roughly around P350, it’s fairly inexpensive and sure to satiate your uni craving. I highly recommend you order uni with something else, as its rich flavor can overwhelm your taste buds after a while, as it does mine. I always share a bowl with the sister so I know I can finish it. For an even cheaper version that is no less delicious, go to the nearest Tok-yu, those cheap sushi bars you see at the weirdest places (I go to the one in Pioneer center) and order an uni sashimi, plus an order of sushi rice. It will set you back about 170, half of what it costs in Oma, but don’t expect surroundings as nice as Oma, as these places aren’t known for their ambience. 🙂
What can I say to describe it now? I don’t know if I’ve stumbled on to cleaner, richer varieties of uni, but recently, it tastes more like a buttery, grainy taste of the ocean. I can now eat it without the dip in calamansi, or even Kikkoman and wasabi.
While most people I’ve offered this to have said “No, thank you”, or yes only to regret it moments after, you my dear reader I urge to try this if you love the taste of sashimi. It can totally make your day, even your week.