Beche de Mer/Sea Cucumber Species: Namako

(Red Sea Cucumber)

Beche de Mer in French, Sea Cucumber in English, Sea Rat (海鼠) in Japanese, this marine creature has been called all kinds of names in many different countries over the ages.
French sailors were catching them and trading them with the Chinese as far back as the XVIIIth Century.
They are presently the most poached single creature inthe Jpaanese seas by illegal fishermen from China, Nort Korea and Russia.

(Green Sea Cucumber)

(Black Sea Cucumber)

Quite a few varieties are found in Japanese markets, but the highest quality specimen are the red sea cucumbers.

The best season is Winter, although they are sold over the counter well beyond Spring in Japan.
They ave many names in Japanese: Namako, Manamako, Akako, Aoko, Kaiso and are caught almost all around the Japanese islands.
They lay eggs from late Spring to early Summer, hence their best taste in Winter when the Japanese find them almost sweet.
Choose red ones as they are softer and tastier. Choose specimens with firm flesh and healthy skin.

(Namako Bachiko)

The Japanese eat them in many ways. Like the Chinese they eat them in their dried form, or “Bachiko”.


They are popular boiled in green tea!


Of course you will find them as sashimi!


Or as sushi nigiri!


Their innards, called “konowata”, are considered a delicacy!


Most popular as gunkan sushi!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


10 thoughts on “Beche de Mer/Sea Cucumber Species: Namako”

  1. i didn’t know they were dried. usually when i see them in a chinese dish, they’re like firm jelly.

    what’s intriguing is the innards you mentioned. the bottom pix look like uni. how do they taste like?


    1. Dear Jocelyn!
      They have been traded dry for ages. The colour is almost the same as uni, but the innards are ore like hreads.
      They taste salty!LOL


    1. Dear Myrtille!
      Frankly speaking, I don’t know, although I’m pretty sure you could find them in dry form in a specialized Chinese Shop!LOL


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