TOYKO, Japan (Circa) - Milt melts in your mouth.
The Japanese delicacy is a seared fish testicle containing, you guessed it, fish semen. It is sometimes called soft roe or shikaro (which translates to "white children"), and can be found throughout Japan and at more adventurous sushi joints in the U.S.
"It's mostly older Japanese customers usually get milt," said Keiichi Tsuchiya, chef and owner at Sushi Bar Nigirite in Shinjuku, Tokyo. "Those people, who are more knowledgeable about sushi, eat that."
But that didn't stop me from trying the dish as a reporter, and tourist, in Japan.
The milt we had was from red snapper, more commonly referred to as red sea bream in Japan, which was caught that day. Most of the fish Tsuchiya buys comes from either the Ehime prefecture in the south of the country, or the Hokkaido prefecture in the north.
"When you cut the fish stomach, you’ll see organs in there. Then sometimes, you can find the milt in there," said Tsuchiya.
The milt is cut into smaller pieces, and blow torched. It is simply topped with salt and pepper, green onions, and yuzu (citrus) rind.
The taste is mellow, like a piece of fresh, raw fish, and you might mistake it for a regular piece of sushi. However, the texture is unique. It's a somewhat similar texture to offal, like liver or heart, in that it is very soft. But rather than crumbling when you bite it, it dissolves.
"It's very soft and rich," said Tsuchiya. "You don't have to bite it."