Awabi are fist-sized sea snails, which are otherwise known as abalone, ear shells, mutton shells, and ormer in English speaking countries. They live in the sea around Japan at a depth of approximately twenty meters. They are usually caught by skin divers, as it is prohibited to catch awabi while using air tanks in Japan in order to prevent overfishing. Given their declining numbers and the effort required to catch them, awabi are rare and expensive, especially big ones. It takes five years for them to grow to a size of four inches.
When it is served raw, awabi flesh is sliced thinly and eaten with soy sauce (in this form, it’s called sashimi). Awabi sashimi has a crispy texture and since awabi mainly eat seaweed, tastes of the sea. The color of the liver is creamy white in males and green in females. Japanese people especially appreciate the bitter taste of the green liver. Baked awabi is prepared and served as steak. Butter and soy sauce are often used to enrich the flavor, and the cooked flesh has a softer texture. Sake and wine go well with it.