Photo: Edible Worm That Looks Like A Manhood
Its scientific name is Urechis unicinctus. It is a species of marine spoon worm widely referred to as the fat innkeeper worm or the man-hood fish. It is common in Asia, and a delicacy there. It is called pinyin in Chinese, yumushi in Japanese, and gaebul in Korean.
It lives in burrows in sand and mud. It gets the name “fat innkeeper worm” because the tunnels it creates often contain other animals.
This spoon worm is commonly eaten raw with salt and sesame oil in Korea and in parts of Japan.
man-hood fish dished
In Chinese cuisine the worm is stir-fried with vegetables, or dried and powdered to be used as an umami (pleasant savory taste) enhancer. In particular, the worm is considered an important ingredient in Shandong cuisine and is used in numerous recipes.
It is also used for fishing bait.
When next you visit an Asian restaurant, ask for it and tell us how it tastes. For me, it’s a No. I won’t be able to eat it without thinking of its name.