Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Oct 29, 2005 07:40 PM

Buying Sea Urchin?

  • r

wondering if any of you folks ever purchase- or know where to purchase (or if you can purchase) fresh sea urchin (uni), like they have in sushi bars?

I'm interested in making a dish (non-sushi!) that requires it, and have never seen it in a fish market (Hollywood/Studio City area).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There is also a bunch of Japanese markets on Sawtelle that have it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chrisd
      rabo encendido

      Urchin at MITSUWA is excellent. The "tongues" are already extracted and placed on wooden boards, like one sees in various sushi establishments.

      There is a branch in Little Tokyo that may be more convenient from the Hollywood area (South on the 101, Exit Alameda, head south, on your right hand side, just past 3rd st.

      333 S Alameda St # 100
      Los Angeles, 90013
      (213) 687-6699

    2. Not sure if many sushi restaurants use it fresh like it comes out of the ocean. They're always picking it out of a wooden box. I have seen it packaged at Marukai Market (Japanese grocery store). They are membership stores ($10/Year), but the one in Little Tokyo on First Steet and San Pedro doesn't require a membership card to get in. They have a limited amount of items and they might have it. Otherwise I've definitely seen it packaged at their location in Gardena.

      3 Replies
      1. re: K

        Along with MARUKAI (two in Gardena, one in J-Town), you'll find the packaged UNI at the five Southland branches of the MITSUWA chain (Little Tokyo, Torrance, West L.A., San Gabriel, Costa Mesa). I've seen it at NIJIYA markets in J-Town and OC too.
        The stuff is also available in the fish sections of Korean markets around town.
        Good luck.


        1. re: Gohantabeyoka

          Not to speak badly of my people, but the stuff at the Korean markets are (in my experience) not as fresh as the stuff at Mitsuwa. Also, it's I think $20 for the same sized box at Mitsuwa which is $10 last time I checked.

        2. re: K

          I've been to a different Marukai, Gardena I think it was, and you don't need to be a member to shop there. As I understand it you are charged a slight premium at checkout if you aren't a member, however.

        3. not like at sushi bars, but if you want fresh live uni in spined shell, go to quality seafood in Redondo Beach.

          1. I love uni. Now I'm curious. What are you making with it that's not sushi? I don't think you'd want to try to clean one.


            1. i
              Ice Cream Machine

              We had an uni bash a few years ago. We made Red
              Snapper with Uni Sauce, Thai-Style Steamed
              Mussels with Raw Uni, Sea Urchin Custards, Uni
              Risotto, Uni Sushi, and even Uni Ice Cream (not
              a good idea, by the way).

              One thing I learned from the experience is that
              there are different grades of uni. If you're
              making a cooked uni dish like a risotto or
              custard, you won't need the "A" grade. There's
              another post that recommended Catalina Offshore
              Products. I concur, they're a great outfit with
              premium stuff. You'll see on the web site that
              they offer three grades, "A+," "A-," and "C."
              "C" might sound bad, but it's perfectly fine for
              cooked stuff. Just not for sushi.


              If you need uni quickly, try one of the many
              fine fish markets downtown -- these places are
              where the actual sushi restaurants go for fish.
              You'll need to pay cash, and 6 AM is late in the
              day for these places.

              Los Angeles Fish Company
              420 Stanford Ave
              Los Angeles, CA 90013-2121
              (213) 629-1213