What does jellyfish taste like?

The first time I saw jellyfish on a menu I thought it was slang for something else. Like dragon noodles.  Clearly you are not ordering noodles made out of dragon (that would be unethical).  As I learned the hard way, it was in fact the real deal.

Jellies are a beloved treat in China, where they’ve been noshed in many a tasty dish for over a thousand years [1]. In fact, jellyfishing is big business in some parts of the word.  Like Georgia. Yes, that’s Georgia the state.  Jellyfish are in fact Georgia’s third largest fishing industry. “Jellyballs” is what locals call jellyfish, particularly the cannonball jellyfish Stomolophus meleagris.   Winter weather means an end for shrimping, but for a few intrepid fisherman, it’s the start of jelly time.

A lone Georgia processing plant handles 60,000 lb of jellyfish at a time, then exports the jellies to Japan and China [2].  Check out this great radio short on Georgia jellyballing [3].  While jellyfish may not be the most nutritious noms, they’re certainly very filling.  Look! 1 cup of dried jellyfish only has 21 calories!

So low in calories you might as well be eating salt!
So low in calories you might as well be eating salt! [4]
For me, my restaurant jellyfish tasted like soy sauce and balloon.  The soy sauce flavor came from soy sauce, with the jelly adding that scrumptious balloony quality. Definitely an acquired taste.  Personally, I prefer my jellynoms deep fried…

Jellyfish Tempura – A Japanese classic

INGREDIENTS About 200g salted jellyfish Sunflower oil, for deep frying 25g cornflour 25g plain flour 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds A pinch of salt 100ml of fresh, ice cold soda water METHOD 1. Rinse the salted jellyfish under cold running water for 5 minutes. Then place in a bowl and add boiling water. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Drain, cut into chunks about 2 centimetres across and dry thoroughly by rolling in kitchen roll and squeezing. 2. Sift the cornflour, flour and salt together in a bowl, add the sesame seeds and stir in the soda water to make a thin batter (the soda water must be fizzy for best results). 3. Dip the chunks of jellyfish into the batter and drop them in the hot sunflower oil to fry for around 1 minute. The batter should expand and crisp up to a golden colour. Lift out and allow to drain. Serve with a sweet chilli or soy dipping sauce.

Work Cited

[1] Jellyfish as food http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/937/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1011875720415.pdf?auth66=1364072540_a56935c24fe999db573e8d77444f1b48&ext=.pdf

[2] Coastal Georgia shrimpers turn to jellyfish to make money http://savannahnow.com/news/2011-05-15/coastal-georgia-shrimpers-turn-jellyfish-make-money#.UTpSzlqzpD5

[3] US Jellyfish Land on Asian Dinner Tables http://www.voanews.com/content/us-jellyfish-land-on-asian-dinner-tables-143681576/179134.html

[4] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/7703/2


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