Fish roe

A photo of kitamurasaki uni nigiri
Northern sea urchin (Kitamurasaki uni)

Northern sea urchin (Kitamurasaki uni)

【Nigiri sushi: Gyoran】
What is Kitamurasaki uni?
Kitamurasaki uni (Northern sea urchin) is distributed a little more south than Ezobafun uni and on occasion in Sagami Bay. On the Pacific side of Japan, this species inhabits the area from the Sanriku region to Hokkaido. On the Sea of Japan side, they are distributed across nearly all areas. The main production area is between Hokkaido and Toyama. Their shell is about 10 cm in diameter and larger than that of the Ezobafun uni, which lives in similar areas. Their spines are long and feel a little sparse compared to the Ezobafun uni. A thin line runs vertically along the surface of its shell. It is usually a dark purple color, but some can be slightly brownish. The spawning season is from September to January.

What does Kitamurasaki uni (Northern sea urchin) nigiri sushi taste like?
Sea urchin with fine texture and ocean flavor is meltingly delicious. Creamy and sweet after taste. Unlike salmon roe, the seaweed flavor loses a bit of the delicate sweetness so there are some sushi chefs who rarely make sea urchin in a roll. It is served with a splash of nikiri and wasabi on top.

Also called Naked sea urchin.

At Mutsu city, in Aomori prefecture, they are working on the testing project of farming Kitamurasaki uni (Northern sea urchins), feeding them various cabbages (standard Cannonball Cabbage and Chinese napa cabbage and etc). Those vegetables are recycled food wastes from supermarkets. The idea is that during the winter season, the natural sea urchin becomes rare and there is barely one on the market, therefore they get those farmed sea urchins on the market instead and aim to generate a new source of income. The farmed sea urchin gets as ripe as the natural one, and those ingredients that create the acquired sea urchin flavor such as Glycine, Methionine and Amino acids are well contained.

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Main production area

Hokkaido Aomori

Famous production area

Miyako Hakodate