Abalone: Beneath the Shell

Have you ever tried abalone? It’s not a very common dish in the US, but you can try it at our Japanese restaurant in Seattle in the form of our awabi nigiri. “Awabi” is the name used for abalone in Japan, where the meat of this fascinating sea snail is often consumed raw to keep the already tough meat from getting even tougher. A complex and subtle taste, abalone goes well without any secondary ingredients to interfere with it.

In addition to its value as a source of meat, abalone are also in high demand for their pearls. Though not true pearls, since the abalone is a snail, the amazingly colorful gems produced within the abalone shell are regarded as some of the most beautiful of the pearl world. Unfortunately, normal pearl farming techniques have proven ineffective for producing abalone pearls, so such pearls are extremely rare. It is for this reason that abalone populations are susceptible to over-harvesting at the hands of unscrupulous pearl hunters.