THE AL GILKES COLUMN: Orient sea eggs
By Al Gilkes | Sun, April 15, 2012 - 12:00 AM
A few Sundays ago we talked about the disappearance of flying fish from our waters and about one fisherman speculating that if the drought continued, we might end up having to replace them with jacks as our national fish.
So instead of flying fish and cou cou, it could soon be jacks and cou cou.
We also noted that whereas flying fish have become very scarce in these parts, they are very plentiful in the Far East.
So what about that other national seafood favourite, sea eggs, which like flying fish are no longer found in the abundance of past years, and the few that remain are currently enjoying a ban from being harvested?
Well, believe it or not, while we sea egg lovers on the rock can only dream about having sea eggs on our plates again, Bajans living in the United states are able to eat a bellyful any time they feel like.
That revelation came by way of an email I received last week from a Vincent who wrote: “I recently read your article about flying fish going to Asia. I live in New York and two months ago visited a friend in Brooklyn and, to my surprise, he asked if I wanted some sea eggs.
“I said, ‘Where do you get sea eggs from?’ and he said, ‘I order them from California’. I told my wife and since then we have had sea eggs in our home at all times. I guess there is still hope for us to get flying fish. It is a small world and sometimes I think it is getting smaller.”
I am no Doubting Thomas but I like to prove things for myself and these days the fastest and easiest way to put your finger on anything is via the Internet. So within seconds of doing a Google, I found the following information:
“Sea urchins (sea eggs) harvested by divers off the California coast are shipped by air to Japan, the world’s largest market for sea urchin roe. California is one of the largest urchin exporters in the United States and the export value of California’s harvest is estimated at more than $80 million a year.”
I also read that, like many other seafoods, sea eggs are low in calories and have a good amount of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Moreover, as we Bajan men have always done and known, the Japanese eat “nuff, nuff” sea eggs because they hold them in the highest regard as a powerful aphrodisiac. They call them “uni” but I can’t say if that has anything to do with Mac Fingall’s reference to a certain muscle-like part of the male anatomy as a “unicep”.
Scientifically, fact of the matter is that whether they are called uni in Japan, sea urchin in California or sea egg in Barbados, these delicious marine creatures contain a property know as anandamide, which is found in the human brain and other organs and which activates dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.
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