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!

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

  1. I haven’t had sea cucumbers in several years. No demand for them unless you go to a city with a large Asian community. The last time I got my hands on one was at a Korean sushi restaurant in Atlanta. Had a plate of these and a plate of sea squirts (both served raw) with Korean hot vinegared miso paste as a dipping sauce. Delicious!


  2. Hey. I’m doing a science project on sea cucumbers and I found that sea cucumbers are edible! I thought “Really?!” I guess they are! This site was helpful because I wrote down some of the ways to eat sea cucumbers. I hope I get an A+!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    (pronounced Lee- erin)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: