The 5 Strangest Seafood Dishes Served Today. And You Thought Oysters Were Ugly…
By Conner Cordova
Nearly 300 years ago, Jonathan Swift wrote, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”
Rough, ridged and flaky on the outside, it appears to be no more than a dirty sea rock. Slimy, stringy, and full of tiny organs on the inside, it rivals the most exotic and alien slugs. Oh, and once you do manage to pry open its shell – the equivalent of ripping out an animal’s spine – throw a little zesty lemon juice on its exposed innards, and don’t forget it’s still alive while you slurp it up.
Regardless how graphic the imagery is, the verdict on oysters was decided long ago, well before even Mr. Swift’s authoritative quote: these little creatures are undoubtedly delicious. Served raw or fried, solo or topped, people have been enjoying oysters every which way for as long as we’ve been farming our seas. In KoldCast TV’s Beneath the Surface: Gulf Seafood’s Fight for Survival, you’ll get an entirely fresh perspective on what goes into transporting this seafood from the ocean to your plate.
You are watching Episode 1 of Beneath the Surface:
Millions of oyster beds are dead, but the fight is alive.
Episode 2 of Beneath the Surface: “What Now?”
In the wake of the BP oil spill, Beneath the Surface exposes the struggles of Louisiana oyster farmers and restaurateurs dependent on the Gulf of Mexico. They’ve fought a hard-won battle to ease the public’s fears of oil contamination. The ultimate vote of confidence was held this past Sunday, with New Orleans hosting Super Bowl XLVII and the hundreds of thousands of fans that descended on Big Easy eateries.
Building the confidence to stomach oysters is no doubt impressive, but what of the other, lesser-known seafood – exotic critters that don’t venture too far above 20,000 leagues? Brace yourself for six of the strangest, smelliest, slimiest, seafood snacks that people are feasting on today, at a restaurant near you.
It’s always nice to relax with a glass of wine at dinner when out with friends, but how chilled out could you be if dinner could kill you? Fugu, the Japanese Puffer Fish, is lethally poisonous due to the hormone tetrodotoxin contained in its body. There is no known antidote if you are poisoned, either. This doesn’t stop adventurous foodies from rolling the dice on the Japanese delicacy. Only specially trained and licensed chiefs are legally able to serve Fugu, and for no small cost. One serving can run between $100 to $200. Enjoy.
Have you ever ordered fish, only for it to arrive staring right back at you? Most of us try to ignore our dinner’s judging eyes, but in some parts of the world, eyeballs are considered the best part of a meal. Asian countries such as China, Korea and Vietnam view them as good luck and, believe it or not, essential for healthy vision. It’s not difficult to eat. Just pluck the protein jewel from the socket, hold by the ocular nerve, and bite in! More than one bite and you’ll be seen as an amateur. It’s said to have the texture of a grape, though we aren’t bold enough to be sure.
Hit any traditional Korean farmers’ market and you’ll find these creatures swarming around in bustling stalls. Street venders keep live sea slugs in fish tanks, cut them up, and serve them raw to anyone in the mood for a jittery snack. Not every species of sea slugs are for consumption, but those that are taste a bit like cucumbers and have the consistency of a gummy bear.
Oh the joy of sourcing and preparing uni, Japan’s most enjoyed delicacy. Uni is the sole edible part of the painfully spiny and toxic sea urchin. Though most people think that uni is the urchin’s roe (eggs), it’s actually the gonads – yes, that’s the technical term – that produce the roe. Made famous by Japanese sashimi chefs, west coast American fishermen now harvest a respectable yield, sending most of their catch back to Asia. Available in gold or yellow, uni is creamy and kind of sweet. It’s in season from late-Fall to mid-Winter, so get going already!
A staple of British cuisine for hundreds of years, jellied eels are as ubiquitous over the pond as a plate of fish and chips. Caught locally, usually in the heart of London’s Thames River, the eels are boiled in salt water for a simple, slimy, fast food treat. Little to no gelatin is required because the eels themselves secrete so much natural jelly. If overcooked they’ll fall right apart, and if undercooked they’re hard as rubber tires, so though it’s a simple preparation, only seasoned pros are ale to do it right. Supposedly they are extremely flavorful, but we’ll stick to burgers and mash.
For the inside scoop on the current state of our country’s freshest, most delicious, and perhaps a bit tamer seafood, don’t miss KoldCast TV’s Beneath the Surface. It’ll inspire you to take your taste buds on an adventure. Go a little crazy and experiment when it comes to expanding your seafood palette; just be careful with what you order. It may jump up and try to get the first bite, or at the least, give you a dirty look.
Click to watch Episode 3 of Beneath the Surface: “Let’s Eat!”
Seafood ain’t static. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface.
Episode 4 of Beneath the Surface: “The Future of Seafood”
Conner Cordova is a Colorado born writer & video journalist with a passion for storytelling. With his bones deep inside the world of extreme sports, Cordova has traveled the globe and gathered a unique perspective on life and those who live on the razor’s edge. His interests range from obsessive foodie culture to eco-adventure travel.