The A to Z Guide on Different Sea Urchins (Complete Guide to Uni)
When we think about Uni (うに), what we picture in our minds are the bright yellowish-orange lobes inside the sea urchin. These edible lobes are actually the gonads, otherwise colloquially referred to as the roe.
When purchasing uni, first-time buyers might be overwhelmed by the different types of uni on the market. You might catch yourself thinking: What’s the difference between the various types of uni? Which one should I purchase? Which one would my friends and family enjoy the most?
Don’t fret! Read on to find out more before making your purchase.
Murasaki Uni is the most common uni found in Japan with its main season being in August. It comes from a dark purple sea urchin with pointed spine. This seasonal uni has clean flavors that remind you of the ocean. They are typically larger in size and lighter in color, with a creamy texture and a mild, sweet taste.
After Murasaki Uni, Bafun Uni is Japan’s second most common uni and they are freshly caught off the waters of Hokkaido. It is in season in October and is typically harvested from deeper waters compared to that of Murasaki. This gives the Bafun Uni a more intense and rich flavour that is creamier in texture. Bafun Uni is often bright-orange or reddish in color.
Aka Uni, also known as Red Sea Urchin, is found in Japan’s most southern island of Kyushu and ours is sourced from the Saga Prefecture. What makes the Aka Uni so rare is because this uni is available only for a short period of time, which is during the Japanese summers. Aka Uni has a much stronger taste profile defined by strong and bold savory notes.
Ensui Uni is lesser-known in Singapore but tastes just as good. It is Uni kept in a saltwater solution that is similar to the sea where it’s from, allowing you to enjoy the natural sweetness of the Uni. In fact, experts recommend that this is the best way to keep and enjoy Uni as this method retains the most natural taste and texture of Uni without any preservatives or chemicals. The taste profile of the Ensui Uni is the sweetest and is widely considered to be the best tasting species, both in term of sweetness and texture.