What is kuro-awabi?
Imported Awabi(abalone) comes to Japan from Australia and Canada, but the flavor isn’t as good as domestically produced abalone. In conveyor belt sushi, Barnacle Rock-shell and Red abalone are sometimes used to imitate Kuro-awabi (Japanese abalone).
The four types of abalone eaten in Japan include Japanese abalone (黒鮑), disk abalone (雌貝鮑), ezo abalone (蝦夷鮑) and giant abalone (真高鮑). Japanese abalone and ezo abalone are good raw while giant abalone and disk abalone can be enjoyed steamed. The chewy texture of raw abalone is from the scleroproteins collagen and elastin. Steaming it with sake softens the collagen into gelatin, softening the texture as well.
What does kuro-awabi taste like?
Sea grass-feeding abalone has a tasty meat with crunchy texture and fine flavor of ocean. By steaming, it gets even tastier and takes on more firmness. Every juicy bite is like a bliss.
Trivia: Abalone is thought to be a lucky charm that symbolizes good fortune and longevity, and legend has it that the Qin Emperor, the first ruler to unite China, traveled all the way to Japan to find the coveted shellfish in search of immortality.
Miyagi Chiba Mie