Local Flavors

Sea-liciously Sweet!


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | May 28, 2013

“Tuyom” or "swaki" (depending on the variety) as it is locally called in Visayas, the sea urchins are one of the major shellfish resources all over the world. It is also known as “kuden-kuden” in Bolinao and “maritangtang” in the Ilocos Region. And is recognized as a Japanese delicacy called “uni” and considered as an exotic food in the United States and Southeast Asia.

Fresh sea urchins; photo by Belle Piccio.

Sea urchins live in shallow marine waters and are an obscure cousin of starfishes. Its only edible part is its gonads or roe which color varies from light to dark yellow orange.

The fresh and live sea urchin is sold at a range of Php50-Php70 per kilogram depending where you are purchasing it from.

A bucket full of fresh sea urchins; photo by Belle Piccio.

The sea urchin is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. When eaten fresh as in “just out of the sea fresh”, it has a sweet sea-salty taste.

To open the sea urchin, cut it into half using a sharp knife in one strike. Carefully remove the slimy innards leaving the roe behind.

Fresh sea urchins cut into half; photo by Belle Piccio.

I like to eat the roe straight after scraping it from the shell (skeleton). Some prefer it with squeezed lime (or calamansi), you can also pour vinegar or put some wasabi.

You got to try it! You’ll never know what you’re missing if you haven’t tasted it!

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