Shirako Japan’s Fish Sperm Delicacy

Believe It Or Not, Fish Sperm Is A Delicacy In Japan. Ewwww…

I am not going to lie. When I first came across this “interesting” article, I cringed in disgust. No offense to Japanese who revered this “delicacy.” For me, this goes straight to the response “thanks but no thanks.” I am good with just ordinary fillet. Thank you very much. If you haven’t already heard, some Japanese loves eating sperm, fish sperm that is. Often referred to as “shirako,” which literally means “white children,” consuming the fish semen is indeed a thing.

Shirako Japan’s Fish Sperm Delicacy
Fish sperm as part of sushi. Image by ArashiyamaOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Despite its clearly gross nature, the actual, presumably, gooey stuff that you will be stuffing into your guts looks nothing like sperm and according to some locals, it does not taste like what you’d expect either. Well, about that. I expect nothing because, I have not tasted sperm before and so I wouldn’t have a clue. But do you? On second thought, don’t answer that.

Shirako Japan’s Fish Sperm Delicacy
Shirako in its raw form. Image by Kent Wang from London, United Kingdom – Smelt milt, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Apparently, shirako is deeply ingrained in Japanese culinary culture. Then again, why am I not surprise? I mean, lets get real. We are talking about folks who adore raw fishes (which I do, btw, especially salmon) and even willingly take the risks of consuming highly poisonous fishes, aren’t we? So, this should not be a surprise at all. Not a bit.

Anywho, here are some interesting bits about this “delicacy.” As it turns out, the sperm are mainly harvested from cod fish and the color and appearance of the sperm changes depending on how full is the cod’s sperm sacs are. It’d look translucent white or pink, and more fluid if the sacs are, you know, nearly ‘out of stock’, but opaque and whiteish and a lot more denser if the sacs are well stocked. Oh, wait. It sounds exactly like mine (except for the pinkish part)! Oh, wait. I have revealed too much, didn’t I? Never mind. Moving on…

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Getting the sac juice is not, I repeat NOT, by rhythmically shaking you-know-what; it is more akin to milking. At least this part isn’t as gross. Anyways, you must be thinking “just exactly what it tastes like?” Well, I am NOT about to find out, either by ingesting some or hearing someone describing it. Not a chance I would want to know. Hell I wouldn’t each caviar, so why in the world would I consume anything that is related to a fish’s reproductive system? Absolutely no way.

However, if you are so incline to find out, then may we suggest that you study the article HERE in great details. But be warned, it is not for the squeamish.

And this is how you “milk” a fish for its sperm:

Shirako Japan’s Fish Sperm Delicacy
By USFWS – Pacific RegionMilt collection, Public Domain, Link

via All That Is Interesting.