Sea urchin porridge is best known as the ginseng of the sea, and in Japan, the dish is a delicacy among gourmets. However, at restaurants and eateries in Vietnam, Phu Quoc sea urchin porridge is served to all diners.
Sea urchins are small, spiny and have a rough shape. They live in groups on coral reefs and rocks and are mainly found in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang and Ly Son. Despite their rough appearance, sea urchins are loved by many diners not only for their flavor but also health benefits.
After being cleaned, the cook uses a small, sharp knife or scissors to cut spines around the sea urchin and then cut around the top to remove all the inedible parts. Inside the sea urchins is the yellow flesh sticking along the shell, which is the most valuable and nutritious part.
The porridge is finely cooked from the delicious rice, and the flesh of sea urchins, scallops, shrimp or crabmeat, and green onions are added. To enhance the flavor of the dish, the cook will add ginger to the porridge, sprinkle a little pepper and fried onions on top. Some cooks even add egg yolks so that diners can mix the egg yolks with the porridge when it is still hot.
Sea urchin has a unique flavor and is best eaten on its own and not combined with other dishes. Locals also believe that sea urchin porridge has more nutrients and aids in better digestion and good health.