Tasty Travels: Sea Urchin (Tuyom or Swaki), Siquijor

Grab a fresh taste of the sea goodness

Many tourists visit the province of Siquijor, Philippines because of its wonderful waterfalls, beaches, and tropical trees. Aside from this, it is also known for having interestingly odd stories. For instance, monikered as the Land of Fire (Isla del Fuego), it has various mythical creature-themed tales that are often shared by parents to their children. If anything, this deviance can also be discovered in their cuisine.

Typically, people avoid sea urchins when going to the beach. Once it stings your skin, you'll discover a world of pain from irritation or bleeding. Nonetheless, the Siquijodnon discovered a precious treat from this spiny species! Generally, these creatures thrive along the coasts and aquatic surroundings called Tripneustes gratilla and Diadema setosum. These sea creatures, “tuyom” or “swaki” as locals call it, are all safely edible and are often enjoyed by the locals.

When it comes to tasting it, some prefer squeezing a few drops of calamansi or lime juice on the meat (gonads and roe) before straight up slurping it, while some like to savor its natural flavor so they eat it straight from the sea. This “exotic” food is a game-changer among travel delicacies and is something you should try on your trip around Siquijor. If you want, you can also try its many recipes! Be it kinilaw, adobo, or other Filipino classics, tuyom and swaki sure have that meaty bite!