Sea slugs as food in China

October 21, 1998
From: Dorothy

Dr. Rudman,
I am a college student in Singapore and am doing a project on exotic foods and delicacies. I have discovered that people in China eat many kinds of seafood, including sea slugs, and I'd like to know if you are aware of that, and if you know the rationale behind it. Please do reply soon. Thank You!

(aka BabyMaiZe)

Dear Dorothy,

I suspect the "sea slugs" being eaten are not opisthobranchs, which are true sea slugs, but are probably sea cucumbers or holothurians whose dried skins are used in Asian cooking and are called trepang and beche de mer. You ask the rationale behind eating them? That is like asking the meaning of life! Humans eat because they get hungry, and I am sure around the world they have tried most commonly available potential "foods" to see whether they are edible.

For information on sea cucumbers and why sea slugs aren't very edible, have a look at the other messages and comments on this page and go to the General Topics page and look at information on Sea Cucumbers and Defensive Mucus in sea slugs.

If by chance you have information on true sea slugs being eaten I would like to know about it.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1998 (Oct 21). Comment on Sea slugs as food in China by Dorothy. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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