Do you know someone for whom the sweet creamy delicate perfection that is uni aka sea urchin makes them weak in the knees and heart pound in excitement? Then you’re in luck, because my unhealthy obsession with the stuff means I have you covered this holiday season (even if you’re shopping last-minute!). Below, some drool-worthy recommendations that are sure to thrill the uni lover in your life.
17. JIRO GASTRONOMY – Sushi Tasting Menu Book by Jiro Ono
Any true sushi fan is familiar with Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the riveting documentary of 90-year-old (!) sushi chef Jiro Ono who’s poured his life into a tiny unassuming sushi bar in Tokyo. Last year, he released a bilingual picture book straight from omakase heaven packed with colorful how to eat tips, sushi preparation methods (including, of course, Hokkaido uni), and mouth-watering commentary. I keep a copy on my office bookshelf to flip through whenever I’m in the mood to torture myself with dreams of sushi. Order it on Amazon here [$10].
16. Sushi Canvas Tote Bag
Have you ever seen a cuter tote bag? This one’s handmade and features fun illustrations – from a smiling unagi to a sweet little uni sushi. Get one here [$20].
15. Sea Urchin Lamp
This sea urchin lamp is way chic and would be a sophisticated addition to any bedroom or living room. Actually quite the steal considering it comes in a set of 2, it’s subtle in style but shows off the obsession in a most aesthetic way. Pick up a set here [$250.99].
14. Flameless Sea Urchin Candles
I swear by Amazon, primarily because Prime 2-day shipping has been my lifesaver for holiday gifting (and any shopping needed in life, really) year after year after year. These flameless sea urchin candles are a sweet way to light up any dinner date at home, and come in three sparkly colors – purple, cream, or green. Get all of them for an extra fun splash! Available here [$14.95].
13. Cherry Blossom Personalized Sushi Board
Every single holiday season, I personalize at least a dozen or more gifts for my parents, L, and his family. Now, we’re not talking monogrammed iPhone cases or an L.L. Bean backpack but rather, already fabulous items that are taken to the next level with a special name or message. Personalization suggestions for this chic sakura sushi set: #unilover, #uniporn, #uniaddict, you get the picture (check their Instagram captions for clues on what they’d like). Hurry and order one here in time for Christmas [$39.95].
12. Metal Decorative Sea Urchin
I’ve always said that uni tastes like pure ocean gold, so this set of three decorative sea urchins would be especially perfect for adding a nice ocean touch to any room. Picture these gold goodies on a coffee table, fireplace, TV cabinet, etc. Grab a set here [$88.99].
11. Demeter’s Sushi Cologne
Sushi cologne that smells…good? Believe it or not, this scent is apparently reminiscent of ginger and lemon. Admittedly, I have the Pizza one that is NOT pleasant and 100% wish I had this one instead. Grab one here to keep them smelling like the citrus sea – multiple sizes available [$6 and up].
10. Japanese Otsumami Snack Pack
OMG. There is NO way an uni lover wouldn’t get a kick out of this ridiculous set of weird snack foods straight from Japan. Only two left on – you guessed it – Amazon! This otsumami is meant to be paired with sake, and includes dry snacks ranging from grilled squid with an uni taste to baked ray fin with a red pepper touch. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind gift here [$49].
9. Sea Urchin Platter
Because nothing screams Christmas more than the highly-anticipated Christmas Book from Neiman Marcus. While this spectacular sea urchin platter by Michael Aram isn’t featured in this year’s catalog, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything uni-inspired that’s more luxurious for a dinner party. Buy it here [$150].
8. Tufted Sea Urchin Pillow
This 18-inch square tufted sea urchin pillow adds a colorful, aquatic touch to any chair, sofa, or bed – either in a beach-themed room or any old space that needs some spicing up ocean style. Pick one up here [$49.99].
7. Sea Urchin Ornamental Wall Décor
How cute would these be in a bathroom, kitchen, sun room, or even a beach house? The possibilities are endless, and I love how edgy they are – literally. And, who doesn’t LOVE ‘Tar-Zhay’? Pick up a 3-piece set here [$14.99].
6. Sea Urchin Cufflinks in Black Diamond
These. Are. Stunning. Haven’t been able to find anything in the U.S. quite as luxurious, but talk about making a classy outfit even classier with a super subtle touch (I mean, they kind of just look like extra fancy buttons). Available in garnet, blue topaz, or black diamond. Be still my heart. Find them here [£400].
5. Private Sushi Making Class
Those who love uni know that it’s an expensive habit. A way to make the habit a bit more economical? Buying in bulk and DIY at home! A sushi making class is perfect to help the uni lover in your life learn different techniques once they have that sweet delicious uni in hand. Japanese Cooking Studio offers a private class in NYC, teaching everything from how to make a spicy tuna roll to hand roll technique to nigiri to even heart-shaped sushi. Book a class here [$120/person].
4. Paderno Stainless Steel Sea Urchin Cutter
Few things in this world compare to eating sea urchin straight from the shell. The best part? Most big cities have markets that sell them live aka as fresh as you can get without picking it out of the ocean yourself. For those who are itching to try a little DIY at home (or already experts), this stainless steel cutter is perfect for getting your hands dirty before reaping the sweet delicious uni rewards. Grab it here [$31.40].
3. Sea Urchin Tree Ornament
If the uni addict in your life is your significant other, print out a picture of the two of you for a cute little addition to any Christmas tree. Or better yet…print out one of their favorite uni pics from Instagram and make it the most drool-worthy ornament yet! Available here [$10.88].
2. Uni (…duh)
I mean, seriously. What else would an uni addict want more than…uni? Easier to do than you think! Catalina Offshore Products has been recognized for nearly 40 years as being one of the best for ready-to-ship trays of sweet creamy uni, with a rich mouthwatering inventory from Alaska to California to Chile. They even sell ready-to-ship LIVE uni. What could be better? Order here [starting at $13.99].
1. Uni Dinner for Two
Those who saw my gift guide for sushi lovers won’t be surprised that the #1 on both lists are the same. End of the day, if you care about an uni addict enough to find them the perfect gift, then nothing compares to a dinner on the town that includes – what else – uni! It won’t be cheap but it will be worth it. Pick somewhere that has an array of fun uni dishes or varieties to choose from, like Sushi Dojo or Wasan in NYC, Okra1949 in Beijing, Maruhide Uni Club in Torrance, CA (nothing but uni), Dozo in London, or Uni Sashimi Bar in Boston. Need help selecting a place? Let me know your city in the comments section and I’m happy to recommend! [Dinner for two likely starting at $100-$150 and up, including drinks.]