Gotta fill up your bag, with the yellow and black
Keep your eye on the wave, don’t ever turn your back
‘Opihi Man in the sun. ‘Opihi Man grab your bag and run
‘Opihi Man another swell is coming your way
‘Opihi, Hawaii’s escargot
‘Opihi (limpet) have thick, cone-shaped shells covered by ridges. They have a pair of tentacles, a mouth, and a muscular foot that allows them to strongly seal their bodies to a rock to prevent being plucked off by a rough wave or person wanting to eat them. Although found on shore breaks across the globe, three species are endemic to Hawaii: black foot, yellow foot, and giant ‘opihi.
It can be an acquired taste, there are people who love it (hello!) and people who can’t stomach it. What does it taste like? The ocean, if it was crunchy. If you’ve never had it, it’s texture is kinda like an oyster, but with tougher and thicker skin that you chew through to get to the soft body inside.
Picking ‘opihi is not for “newbs”
People have risked their lives for this seafood delicacy. Do a quick Google search on opihi picking and you’ll find that it can be very dangerous–it’s been referred to as “the fish of death” and “delicacy of death”. Since they live in rough shore breaks, people get thrashed around by the surf, sometimes resulting in paralysis, drowning, other times getting swept out to sea and never returning. Rule #1: never turn on your back to the ocean.