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What's uni supposed to taste like?

  • d

So, I just tried uni for the first time last night at a restaurant in LA. I didn't hate it and it was actually better tasting than I thought it would be considering that it looks pretty wrong at first glance. But I guess I was curious as to what really good uni is supposed to taste like. I hear people praise the uni at certain restaurants and I'm wondering what makes it taste better or worse. TIA!

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  1. j
    Jonathan Saw

    I've found that the uni I've enjoyed reminds me of the ocean, just like a good Kumamoto oyster.

    It's kind of hard to describe, but I'll take a stab (sorry if the description is a little esoteric): it tastes the way the beach smells early in the morning when the spray is coming off the waves and the wind carries the salty, sandy, smell up to you.

    Perhaps other hounds can make comparisons to other foods, but I'm pretty close with the beach thing. :-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jonathan Saw

      a fresh morning ocean breeze is a good descriptor or like a briny oyster.

      when the taste is anything more than delicate or like the smell of low tide it is not good uni.

      1. re: rebs
        f
        fai jay (fai jackson)

        It doesn't taste like oysters, except for years I described oysters (very fresh, good ones) as being like eating the ocean, and I think the same thing can be said of uni. If it feels like your eating a small polluted lake==don't.

        1. re: rebs

          Just finished an uni tasting with a friend at a local sushi shop. There are over 100 varieties of uni available in Japan. Two of the more popular ones are "Bafun uni" and "Murasaki uni". The bafun uni was on the creamy side and the murasaki uni was richer in flavor. As everyone as mentioned, tastes a bit of the sea and shouldn`t smell fishy. Also, a creamy, soft texture.

          On a side note, "bafun" translates as "horse poo poo" as its appearance is exactly as it translates...

          Cheers!

      2. I'll echo Jonathan Saw's description...fresh uni should taste like a fresh ocean breeze. Old/stale uni, on the other hand, can tend to taste like a festering tidepool.

        1. Under the hint of seabreeze, good uni also has a slight nutty sweetness in a texture like a creamy light custard, and it should leave you with subtle smooth richness on your tongue.

          1. To me it has a faint taste of lobster tomalley.

            1. Sort of like a briny egg yolk.