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Uni is the nectar of the gods. (Ikura on the other hand...)

Two pieces of gunkan ('battleship' nori-wrapped) uni sushi dissolving on your palate is sheer ecstasy -- this i affirm.

It must stimulate the sensory organs like nothing else. Closing your eyes, it IS the summation of the marine essence, which is only further heigten by its nori partner.

anyone share such a feeling with this ingredient? prepared other ways as well? Anyone tried uni spaghetti (is it in a packet)?

btw...i noticed a uni meshi no moto product at mitsuwa (next to a Kani and fugu meshi) anyone try?

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  1. Before giving up on salmon roe altogether, look for some sugiko (or suzuko) at Mitsuwa. The NJ Mitsuwa has it off and on. It's salmon roe, but it hasn't been treated in the same way - the sac is more or less whole, and the individual eggs are all stuck to each other and the sac. It has been salted and or brined in shoyu. It has a much stronger flavor than ikura, and doesn't suffer from some of the chemical after-effects of the processing.

    Other fish roe products that are worth trying are kazunoko kombu - herring roe that has stuck to kombu, which is pretty mild. And all forms of cod/pollock roe, tarako, and the spicy version, mentaiko.

    2 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      Ikura that has been treated this way is one of the most pleasurable experiences you can g9ive your tastebuds. Light years of difference between this and the mushy glop you get at sushi joints.

      1. re: applehome

        ive seen the yellow kazunoko konbu and read about it (new yrs food i think) havent tried it yet. but at your suggestion, i'm going to pick it up next week. (and the suzoko if i find it too).

      2. Before you give up on ikura, try some at Sakura. The last time I had chirashi there, it came with a spoonful of ikura. Each precious little egg became a joy of its own. Each egg tasted so good that I picked them up one at a time to pop into (and pop in) my mouth. Yum. It's not uni, but it still is awfully good.


        1. You may have my portion of the uni if we ever eat sushi together. I can't stand the stuff.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Ditto this, Das.

            The texture of uni is so tremendously off-putting I've sworn to never subject myself to it again -- unlike ikura where I can sit and enjoy bite after bite of this ambrosia.

            1. re: The Ranger

              OMG, the dissolving 'sweet' texture is one of uni's greatest atrributes...

              sake bombs are on me.

              1. re: kare_raisu

                That's just it... The "disolving 'sweet'" texture simply isn't to me. I'll attribute my supreme lack of experiences while growing up that helped form that biased opinion, though. Ikura, OTOH, have such a magnificent taste _and_ texture that uni just can't hold a candle to it...

                Note the restaurant where you'll be treating for those sake bombs and I'll happily join you, though!

          2. Hi

            I lived in Tokyo for almost 7 years and had the opportunity to sample many types of Japanese food. Your mention of uni spaghettis really caught my attention because there was a restaurant in the basement of the office building I worked in that had it on the menu. Like you, I love uni in any form. Their spaghetti (the place is called Hiyashi Spaghetti) had a lot of uni paste (you can bottles of it in Japan) mixed with a nice amount of butter all mixed into the spaghetti as soon as it was cooked. They sprinkled thin shavings of nori over the top just before serving it to you. I would kill for this dish any day of the week but have never seen here in the USA. You could also order it with ika and and tarako mixed in with evertything else too

            2 Replies
            1. re: RoyRon

              Man, you sure know how to make someone's mouth water! Thanks for posting about this dish. Consider me now accompnying you, on the quest for this uni spaghetti. Have you ever seen the tube at a japanese market here in the us?

              1. re: kare_raisu


                I have never found a source of the uni paste here in the USA. When I travelk to Japan I try to buy a bottle or two and bring it back with me. If you are near a good Japanese food market you might ask them if they can get it. It comes in a small jar and is in the refrigerated section of the market. I am not exactly sure of what the name is in Japanese or what the brand is. Good luck in tracking some down. It is extremly easy to make the uni spaghetti if you can locate a source for the paste.

            2. The ikura at hatsuhana is wonderful and much more mild than most ikura that i've had.

              1 Reply
              1. re: belle

                the problem for me with ikura, is that it can be a proverbial salt-bomb. its presence almost ruined an uni-don i ordered once for me.

              2. Uni is also my favorite food in the whole world. Where is the best you've had?

                4 Replies
                  1. re: mr mouther

                    Sushi Ota, fthe fish house sushi bar, and nobu (solana beach) in San Diego...they are the only bars that recieve their uni on styrofoam -- not the typical wooden little boxes (which smtimes leeks flavor into precious uni)

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      Why do you think those are the only places that get them in the styrofoam containers. I have seen it other places, the now defunct Matsuoka and at Sakura

                      1. re: MVNYC

                        sorry --i dont think that, i forgot to write "...that i know of."

                  2. I love uni and ikura. My best uni was either fresh out of the shell or some I had in a sushi bar in San Diego. I always buy ikura for at-home sushi because, as someone stated above, each egg is a joy... I never eat it in a battleship, always going slow taking one egg at a time.

                    1. How I love uni. On vacation in Tokyo last February, I went to the tiny Bistro Sanyo located in the gargantuan Ota Wholesale Market (it's the expedition in my profile), which someone mentioned on the International board as having a very reasonable uni set breakfast at 1200 yen (approx. $10.50). Such a good bargain it is, they only serve 20 per day. The uni is served straight up, and you get a whole tray all to yourself. I savored every slowly melting bit. Oh, the decadence! A picture, from the restaurant website, is below. Missing from that picture is the serving of natto which also came with the set. It was definitely a deal, worth the trip and, hopefully, a return visit.


                      I also had an excellent uni dish a few years ago in a tasting menu at Arpege, in Paris. The uni (or oursin) was served in its shell, topped with an light herb sauce. Lucky for me, my friend and dining companion abhors sea urchin, so I got hers, as well! It was a little tough on our fingers, though, switching all those shells around.

                      1. kare_raisu - I am not sure where you are geographically (on your "My Chow" you show California as your local board) -- however, if you are in Southern California, you can enjoy fresh, live uni at the Redondo Pier.

                        I understand that the quality varies quite a bit from urchin to urchin, but if you can trust some of the knowlegeable servers at Quality Seafood, and if you know the best season, you can sit outside on the pier and enjoy as much as you like for a very reasonable price. Bring your own nori-wraps!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: liu

                          how much do they go for, liu? Have you experienced ordering there? My latest check at mitsuwa SD priced them at 9.99 a flat.

                          Nori-wraps definitely! for me, uni has to be accompanied by nori...just not as pinnacle incredible (ok uni alone is still fantastic) alone charashi style.

                          1. re: kare_raisu

                            Ooooooh, sorry kare_raisu -- I don't remember how much. I ordered one -- not really caring about the price, but I know it was relatively inexpensive compared to a sushi bar!-- and the server prepared it by cutting it open so that I could scoop the uni inside. I was a spectacle because the spikes were still moving while I was eating it; people (especially kids) were gathering around my table to watch this "thing!" I thought I would go back for many more, but it was extremely rich and one was enough, although quite delicious!

                            The server must be very skilled because it is easy to get some shell inside when cutting it open.

                            1. re: kare_raisu

                              At Sammy's, the last time he did live uni for me, it was $15. He killed and cleaned it for me, and I believe I got 6 (8?) ethereal pieces of uni from it. But be sure to call first to check on availability.

                              As someone else has mentioned, the uni at Izakaya Sakura is also outstanding - along with almost everything else there. As I said, that place can change your mind about ikura.


                            2. re: liu

                              You can get live uni at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in NYC. Great fun and great restaurant.

                            3. mmmmm..i love love love uni. i also like mine straight up and i get it shipped by the tray from a processor in san diego: http://www.catalinaop.com/uni.htm

                              1. how funny - I have never cared for uni (I think it's a texture issue for me too) but adore ikura. In fact, I eat it on a fairly regular basis. I have a pound in my refrigerator right now (actually, more like three-quarters of a pound.) I eat it with rice, on bread, plain, any which way.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: eeee

                                  That's what I'm talking about!