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Where to get good, fresh uni?

I recently saw a wonderful recipe for pasta with uni. I need a good reliable source for fresh uni for the recipe. What sources would you recommend?

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  1. I saw that same dish, in the New York Times.

    I imagine any large Japanese market would have fresh uni.

    I do often use Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego (when I lived elsewhere I often had them ship me their stuff.) Uni comes fresh and packed very well and yes, it is still live when it arrives if you order the live stuff.

    http://www.catalinaop.com/Sea_Urchin_...

    Making the dish myself on Saturday...

    1. yesterday's NY Times, right? i was really digging that recipe too.

      if any of them are convenient for you, try one of the Japanese or fish markets listed in this thread...

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364273

      1. The San Francisco Fish Company in the Ferry Building has had live uni most of the times that I've checked.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Paul H

          the nyt article was about the uni that you get in japanese markets, already cleaned and neatly laid out on trays, making it especially convenient and easy to use. as other posters have said, a good japanese market will have fresh uni and sometimes live uni. Try Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley. They almost always have it.

          1. re: katnat

            This week, good looking 1/4-trays were $8.99. It seemed to me about 4-6 times as much uni as on a 2-piece sushi order.

          2. re: Paul H

            New May Wah at 719 Clement in SF has uni in trays (refrigerated section against eastern wall of western half) and also, sometimes, live sea urchins in the seafood section.

            1. re: BaraXan

              Have you bought it there? I've purchased it in the same type of tray at Niji-Ya supermarket in Japantown, but worried the turnover in a chinese market would not be high enough to keep it fresh. I have actually seen live urchins at New May Wah in the fish department too.

              1. re: SteveG

                Well no, I haven't. But I will when I try that NYT pasta recipe, and I'll let you know.

                1. re: SteveG

                  Actually bought a couple live ones at New May Wah just last week. Both of them were much livelier than the examples I'd bought from San Francisco Fish Company a while back, and provided for a far better experience.

                  In particular, one of the two, with deep orange hued roe, was absolutely amazing: crisp on a first bite, immediately yielding to a creamy, briny center as the roe melted away in my mouth. I've never bought the ones in trays at NMW, but the trays at nijiya are passable. I've given up on buying them there, sating myself with trips to Ino once in a while instead. For a pasta dish, though, it seems that it'd be much more practical to buy a tray...

                  1. re: SteveG

                    I finally made the pasta with uni. It was wonderful--luxurious, creamy, pretty, and full of flavors (the garlic and tomatoes take the uni taste in an unexpected direction). I did buy the uni at New May Wah and it was just fine.

                    1. re: BaraXan

                      Thanks for reporting back. I'm always entertained how the checkout people evaluate me (a gweilo) quizzically for my unusual selections there. Sounds like they're carrying live uni and more uni generally due to increased awareness or demand, which is always a good thing in my book.

                      1. re: BaraXan

                        BaraXan, I'd be interested in that pasta recipe - where can I find it?

                2. I saw live ones at 99 Ranch the other day.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Richmond branch?

                    1. re: adrienne156

                      The Richmond 99 Ranch, right.

                  2. Always available at Nijiya Market in Japantown.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Carrie 218

                      Not available at Nijiya when I went there 10-10-2009. I was home alone and craved some Uni with rice I made. Drove down to J town and did not find it at Nijiya, headed across the street to the market next to San Wang but there were closed at 7:45 p.m.

                      Went to the Korean store on Fillmore and obtained some cucumber kim chi and dried anchovies and mixed it with rice....

                      Will try the supermarket next to San Wang next time...

                    2. Uni is generally available weekdays at the source, right where it comes off the boat at Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg. There is a small factory with about 50-100 workers processing the urchins and packaging it. The owner will sell you a very small box for $5 and a bigger one for $20. Can't get fresher than that.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Thomas Nash

                        Ft. Bragg is a long drive - are there any other places closer to San Francisco where uni comes off the boat?

                      2. Just bought some today from Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley/Albany on San Pablo. 9 for 9.00. I love this place!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: snospra

                          I second Tokyo market....best Uni in the Bay Area...period. Trays are $38...not too bad considering that is a quite a large portion...they get the fresh stuff on Thursdays so shop early....

                        2. I just noticed that Sun Fat Seafood on Mission has begun carrying trays of uni at a very good price (also rolls of ankimo!) I hope they will do enough business to keep stocking it.

                          1. Manila Oriental Market on Mission sometimes has live uni. Also, the seafood tent at the San Rafael Farmer's Market will sometimes have live uni and they will cut and remove them from the shell for you while you wait. Sorry, I didn't make note of price.

                            -----
                            Manila Oriental Market
                            4175 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                            1. FYI -- I saw some at May Wah on Clement St. this weekend. It looked fine, but I did not try it and am not sure I would buy it there...