Sea squirts, also known as sea pineapples, are a rare find in most parts of Japan, but now they come in canned form!

If you’re a seafood fan, you probably love Japanese food, which is rich with a variety of tasty sea critters that are either served raw, dried, fermented, salted, or cooked in any way you can imagine. But here’s a question for you avid seafood eaters: have you ever eaten sea squirts, also known as sea pineapples?

These bumpy, round, orange-yellow creatures can be served raw or cooked by grilling, deep-frying, drying, salting or smoking, and because of their intense briny, ocean flavor, they’re one of those foods that people either love or hate. Sadly, hoya, as they’re known in Japanese, are not exactly easy to find, even in Japan; since they’re mostly fished off the coast of Tohoku in northeastern Japan, you can only really get them in Miyagi, Sendai, and other coastal prefectures of the region.

Luckily, one popular canned food company just started selling canned hoya, and you can order it form anywhere in Japan! Kinoya Ishinomaki Suisan, which is known for manufacturing a wide variety of canned seafood products, has just released canned hoya that is absolutely delicious. We know, because we’ve tried it.

Their sea squirts are caught fresh off the coast of Miyagi, then put in boiling water and immediately canned. The final product is called “Otona no Yoru ni ‘Hoya’ (Mizuni)”, which essentially means “‘Hoya’ for Adult Evenings (Boiled in Water)”. Each can costs 510 yen (US$4.69), which is a lot for a canned food item, but considering it’s a regional delicacy, we can’t help but find that price reasonable.

We ordered a few cans as soon as we found out about them, because how could we not? The can surprised us with its stylish royal blue background with orange and white lettering, but of course, what we were most interested in was the hoya themselves, so we pulled open the easy-pull tab and took a look inside.

There were three whole sea pineapples in there! Since they were boiled, they didn’t have the same bright orange-yellow color they usually sport. But the smell–that was definitely hoya. That salty-sea smell is distinct.

▼ They were a lot heavier than they seemed, too, feeling hefty in our chopsticks.

Without further ado, we took a bite. Mmmm! Tasty, and unbelievably fresh! There was no tinny flavor to it at all; just the delicious ocean-fresh flavor of hoya that we know and love.

The texture was semi-soft, with a little bit of chewiness, but that was okay, because the more we munched on it, the more its delightful ocean-y flavor filled our mouths. The hoya had both a gentle sweetness and a very slight bitterness, which mixed together to make a truly delicious flavor that is said to pair excellently with Japanese sake. Of course we indulged in a little drink, too.

If you’re someone who hates seafood, obviously this canned hoya is not going to be for you. Even if you like seafood, if you don’t like the kinds that are intensely fishy, you probably won’t like the Otona no Yori ni canned hoya. But if you like seafood that tastes like the ocean, of if you’ve eaten hoya before and enjoyed it, then this canned version is a delightful treat, great for dinner or a snack. It might even be a good complement to pasta, in place of clams or other seafood ingredients!

Regardless, the fact that you can easily get hoya in a can from Kinoya Ishimaki Suisan is absolutely amazing, seeing as it’s so hard to find anywhere else. The unfortunate thing is these cans are only being sold for a limited time, so fans won’t have easy access to this delicacy forever.

But they are available for now from Kinoya’s online shop as long as supplies last, so whether you’re already a hoya fan or you just want to try some for the first time, don’t delay on getting an order in!

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