Help me figure out this Mystery Roe
February 9, 2009 3:54 PM   Subscribe

A few weeks ago, I ate a strange sushi made with a large black roe. Does anyone know what it is?

A friend was at a Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn and picked up an order for me too. Among other things, I asked for a piece of salmon roe sushi.

They said that they were out of salmon roe, but they have _____, and it was just delivered, so it is really fresh, and would be a good substitute.

_____ turned out to be something very dark, if not black. It looked a little bigger than any salmon roe I've seen. It tasted similar to salmon roe, but sweeter. It seemed very fresh indeed. There was no fishy taste at all, but fresh salmon roe doesn't have a fishy taste either.

It did not look dyed, but I could be wrong about that.

Has anyone encountered anything like this? Any idea what it was? I liked it, and wouldn't mind eating some more in the future.
posted by qvtqht to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kind of on the side--anyway you can call the restaurant and ask? I'm sure they get this kind of question frequently!
posted by 6:1 at 4:05 PM on February 9, 2009

Seconding 6:1. Plus, they are your best bet to getting the dish again.
posted by spec80 at 4:08 PM on February 9, 2009

Tobiko? I think it is pretty common, so you should be able to get it again.
posted by bread-eater at 4:09 PM on February 9, 2009

Response by poster: bread-eater: Tobiko is much smaller than salmon roe.

6:1: I will call the restaurant if I remember or find out the name, but I currently can't. Otherwise, that would be my first step.
posted by qvtqht at 4:35 PM on February 9, 2009

Tobiko is usually orange and very tiny. It is the orange "sparkles" you often see on sushi. I've never seen red or black tobiko but I have to believe bread-eater's post that they exist.
posted by chairface at 4:37 PM on February 9, 2009

Tobiko is only orange because it's dyed that way, FWIW.
posted by aubilenon at 4:39 PM on February 9, 2009

Herring roe looks like a grapefruit section. It's not the right time of year for shad roe. Sturgeon caviar?
posted by fixedgear at 4:47 PM on February 9, 2009

Was it Paddlefish caviar? (Very yummy, salty and pretty big) That link has other caviar photos too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:51 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: CunningLinguist: Based on what I can gather from GIS, Paddlefish caviar is smaller than salmon? I only saw a few pictures of them side by side.
posted by qvtqht at 5:16 PM on February 9, 2009

My bad--I thought you and/or your friend had the name of the restaurant. Sorry.
posted by 6:1 at 5:22 PM on February 9, 2009

I did a search for black fish eggs in Japanese and I got a page that lists something called "Chorunaya Ikura" or "caviar." Sounds like it was the sturgeon type that we in the U.S. know as caviar.

Here's the page in Japanese:

It says the name "Chorunaya Ikura" derives from the words for "black fish eggs" in Russian.
posted by fan_of_all_things_small at 10:14 PM on February 9, 2009

Based on what I can gather from GIS, Paddlefish caviar is smaller than salmon?

I've seen different sizes, some pretty large, but not sure I've seen bigger than salmon roe.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:41 AM on February 10, 2009

Tobiko is only orange because it's dyed that way, FWIW.

Really? Once I saw green tobiko, heavily wasabi-tasting, so I assumed the wasabi somehow tinted the orange green. If it's dyed orange, what color is natural tobiko?

As for the question, my guess is sturgeon cavier (but like sardines, bluefish and anchovy, I've never heard of that being served in a sushi bar, but sounds all right by me).
posted by Rash at 3:03 PM on February 10, 2009

Best answer: fan_of_all_things_small: "Chornaya Ikra", at least in Russian, generally refers to the smaller sturgeon roe.

I have since located, and even visited this place, and asked them about it. They said it was some kind of special salmon roe, but I couldn't get much more info due to the language barrier between me and the hostess. I could have asked the chef, but I had other things on my mind at the time.
posted by qvtqht at 12:32 PM on March 12, 2009

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