Namako – Sea cucumber

Some time ago we came across this on the supermarket:

Namako, Sea cucumber

I had no idea what it was, but it turns out that it is a quite common marine animal. In fact, some weeks after seeing it at the supermarket, I was snorkeling in Thailand and saw many of them in their natural habitat. In Japanese language it is known as namako (海鼠, 海: sea, 鼠: rat. Sea rat!) and it is usually eaten raw as sashimi or sushi. In English it is known as sea cucumber, because of its shape; which translates into Spanish as pepino de mar.

“They are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad. Sea cucumbers are found on the sea floor worldwide.”
“Sea cucumbers communicate with each other through sending hormone signals through the water which others pick up.”
“They can be found in great numbers on the deep sea floor, where they often make up the majority of the animal biomass. At depths deeper than 5.5 mi (8.8 km), sea cucumbers comprise 90% of the total mass of the macrofauna.” More in wikipedia

Would you eat a raw namako?

4 replies on “Namako – Sea cucumber”

I have eaten it. There’s some things you do not need to do twice. And stay the #*!! away from ‘hoya’: sea-squirt. It is far worse than sea cucumber.

The first time I tried sea cucumber I was about 10 years old and in a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, New York City. My uncle convinced me to try it. Apparently he likes the stuff. It was like putting a big wad of snot into my mouth. I promptly dashed under the table, down a flight of stairs and threw up all over the floor in the bathroom.

Last year I had the chance to accidentally try it again. I guess my tastes have changed, because while I still find it disgusting it didn’t make me vomit. I’m glad about that because I was dressed to impress at a Chinese wedding reception in Singapore.

This thing is Chinese delicacy according to what one lady at my table told me. I invited her to have my share of the delicacy as well.

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