This is Fish Radio- I’m Stephanie Mangini. Experience the pop factor. Hear more after this… 

 

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They’re a lot bigger than I thought they’d be. They’re ah, big and squishy looking. – They’re beautiful. – Looks like bait.

Oh, it’s very salty. It’s pretty good; it’s like mushy sushi…
It’s kind of funny; they do roll around in your mouth a little bit…
They are very squishy. Kind of like fishy blueberries…

That’s KCAW radio staffers in Sitka describing the taste and feel while eating salmon caviar. Salmon roe might not be an American favorite, but it’s a pricey, very popular bite elsewhere.

Steve Reifenstuhl is general manager for Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association-

“In the last 20 years roe from chum salmon and from pink salmon has had a huge demand and has grown significantly, particularly in Eastern Europe, not so much in the United States. But, of course, it’s been a delicacy in Japan for decades. But that demand has spread across the world as the world has come to know that product of ikura, chum caviar, and it’s a high in protein, high in fat, it’s a delicacy. I love it myself.”

Roe makes up a huge part of Alaska salmon market. In 2013, 21 million pounds of pink salmon eggs was valued at over 200 million dollars, with an average wholesale price of 9.54 cents per pound. Whereas the more favored, chum roe sold at just under 15$ per pound making the eggs worth over 100 million dollars in 2013.

“Pink Caviar is also considered a delicacy. It’s just the best of the Salmon is the chum because it’s a larger egg and I think the ‘pop’ that occurs when you turn it in; you know, salt it and turn it into a caviar product. Pink salmon is a smaller egg and for some reason is not quite as desirable so doesn’t have the price that chum salmon caviar has.”

Yeah, I had a little bit of a pop feeling…

They pop and kind of release a liquid in your mouth…

Yeah, it’s a cool burst of fishy goodness…

It is, it’s a burst of fishy goo…

Riefenstuhl hopes to see the old world taste catch on to the taste buds of today.

“Indigenous people here in Southeast have been eating roe since they arrived here 10,000 or more years ago because it’s incredibly rich in protein and fat and so it’s a natural food source and been a delicacy for the Tlingit people for years.”

I don’t think it’s meant to be eaten straight up; you’ve got to put it on a cracker or something…

Cracker and a little bit of cheese and this would be awesome…

Thanks to the assist of KCAW radio in Sitka. Pink Salmon Roe Story

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.

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