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Fish roe

A photo of bafun uni sushi
Green sea urchin (Bafun uni)

Green sea urchin (Bafun uni)

What is Bafun uni?
Green sea urchins are found from the southern areas of Hokkaido down to Kyushu. The shell is about 4cm in diameter and green in color. Their spines are short but sharp. They are delicious eaten raw but they can also be prepared as salted sea urchin or “Tsubu-uni” (processed urchin). Since they have a low yield, most are consumed locally.

Besides Japan, many are imported from South Korea, China, the US, Canada, Chile and other places. Most uni presented as Bafun uni at sushi restaurants is Ezobafun uni from Hokkaido. Niether Toyosu Market nor sushi restaurants distinguish between Bafun uni and Ezobafun uni.

Trivia 1:The thing we eat as " Sea urchin" is actually Sea urchin's gonad. And how to recognize the gender of sea urchins is to see the color of its gonad. Male gonad is deep yellow and female gonad is orange nearly red. The male gonad tastes more sweeter and rich.

Trivia 2: The umami flavor of sea urchin is mainly made up of amino acids and nucleic acids. Some of the amino acids found in this topping are glycine, alanine, valine and glutamine. The sweetness of sea urchin is related to the glycine and alanine content, while its richness comes from glutamine. It doesn’t have a high inosinic acid content, which is a nucleic acid, but the synergistic effects of the inosinic acid and glutamic acid bring out the umami flavor. It also contains methionine, an amino acid, which contributes greatly to the unique flavor that sea urchin is known for.

Trivia 3: The sea urchin soaked in saltwater will get sweetened and tastier when they take them out from the saltwater and let them rest for a day. But if they don't know how to handle them and just serve them as they are just only taken from the saltwater, the sea urchin will taste bland and watery.

Also called Elegant sea urchin.

Related contents :
WHAT IS UNI SUSHI?

Why is it that sea urchin sushi can taste bitter?

Main production area

Fukui Ishikawa Yamaguchi Fukuoka

Season

Spring