Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Foodventures: Man Sun Uni Bowls

Sea urchins aren't the friendliest looking critters. I wonder who was the first person to make the magnificent discovery that there is in fact heavenly deliciousness hidden inside their spiny, fortified, exterior. Uni has a subtle sweetness, lusciously creamy texture, and very little brininess when served fresh. I've had uni in several different preparations including sushi, hand roll, and pasta (one of my favorites!), so when I heard about the fresh uni bowls served on the half-shell from Man Sun Japanese, I was intrigued!

One Saturday afternoon I finally managed to convince Will to make the long drive east to satisfy my curiosity (and our stomachs!). We ordered the sushi boat dinner, which quite literally included a boat-load of food: miso soup, salad, rolls, nigiri, chicken teriyaki, tempura, green tea ice cream, all served alongside an assortment of Korean banchan. But of course the highlight of the meal was the fresh uni bowl, an "off menu" item.

The uni shells were much larger than I expected and it's daunting spikes were actually quite brittle and not nearly as sharp as I would have imagined (though I still wouldn't recommend playing catch with it). The half-shell bowl was filled with rice and uni, topped with masago, pickled vegetables, seaweed salad, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Yum.

After we devoured our bowls with our plastic spoons (I found the plastic utensils hm, interesting... I normally think of uni as rather luxurious fare) and scraped every last delicious morsel out of the spiny exoskeletons, we raced over to the next door Diamond Fresh Farmer's Market right before their closing time and snagged two whole bags of fresh produce for under $5! Icing on the cake!

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