I wrote about eating swaki even FRESHER than the ones in these photographs, taken while on a trip to Bohol several years ago, and while on a huge sandbar, one of the bangkeros pulled some sea urchins out of the sea and opened them up and let us eat the bright orange yellow roe right then and there… they were superb. But these sea urchins weren’t too shabby either, just 10-20 minutes out of the water and still very much alive, I spied them being opened for someone’s lunch appetizer not far from the Bogo market and close to the sea shore.
The plastic basin was filled with some 2-3 dozen sea urchins with shorter spines (there are dozens and dozens of types of sea urchins, the most menacing being the ones with long black spines) and still entangled in some rather vibrant yellow green seaweed. Split open, they had a beautiful yellow orange roe, slightly briney and which would instantly dissolve on one’s tongue. Highly prized as a sushi ingredient in Japanese restaurants, there is nothing like eating it straight out of the urchin.
To extract, make sure you have an edible variety of sea urchin. Next, take a sharp knife and with one swift confident blow around 1/3 of the way up the body of the sell, cut the urchin into two. Carefully fish out the pretty grotty innards until all you are left with is one half of the shell, with five lovely strips of yellow orange roe.
I am sure it is an acquired taste for most, but once you acquire it, and you have eaten it seconds after the urchin is whacked, you will be spoiled forever… :)