There are a few activities in this world that I really feel I was born to do, and uni spear-fishing is one of them. On my recent trip to the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc (generously hosted by Red Boat Fish Sauce and Chopt), I had the chance to realize my full potential as a shallow water crustacean huntress.
In general, I don’t count hunting or fishing amongst my greatest skills. I am generally too impatient to stay the course, to sit and wait for the moment to strike. That said, I am a scrappy forager, picker and gatherer, known to pull-in my fair share of ramps or mushrooms when the season comes. Comparatively, uni fishing is quite easy; these spiny delicious dudes move very, very slowly under water. Once you spot one lurking in the shadows of a coral formation, it’s basically yours. Don’t be fooled by the “spear” either. Less Poseidon more enormous fish fork, our tool of choice was a long stick with two rusty metal prongs on the tip. Pierce the center of the prickly black shell and its yours. I must have caught 30 myself.
Back on shore, we would eat our catch tout suite, removing the spines with scissors, cracking the shells to reveal tiny little orange gonads. Normally, I would eat uni this fresh raw, but in this case we popped the open shells onto a charcoal grill, then served them with crushed peanuts, green onion and a little bit of fish sauce. Try it!