Foodies Go Crazy for Caviar 'Bumps'

It's the traditional way to sample roe, but with an illicit-sounding name
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2022 10:30 AM CDT
The 'Naughty Way' to Eat Caviar: in 'Bumps'
Welcome to the era of "peak 'afforable' luxury."   (Getty Images/FabioBalbi)

You don't need some fancy cheese board or crudite to enjoy a spoonful of caviar, also known as roe from sturgeon fish. As Alyson Krueger writes at the New York Times, "caviar bumps"—in which a spoonful of caviar is licked off of one's fist between the thumb and index finger "like salt after a tequila shot," then crushed against the top of the mouth with the tongue—are the latest craze among opulent foodies and even those with a tighter grasp on their wallet. "In the past, caviar was considered too expensive to serve so casually," Krueger writes. But with better farming techniques, the price of (farmed, not wild) caviar has fallen—just not too far to erase its luxury status.

These "bumps," sold for $20, "have become a decadent and naughty way to consume the pricey delicacy at certain restaurants, fashionable bars, art festivals, and other showy gatherings," per the Times. They were available at a pop-up seafood restaurant at Coachella, for example. "People used to get high off of drugs," said a Los Angeles bar owner who ordered one. "Now, we're getting high off the food." Eating caviar off of one's hand isn't new, though. Indeed, it's how specialists have traditionally sampled roe before buying a tin. And it tastes especially good that way, according to enthusiasts.

"If you put caviar on blinis or chips or put chives or red onion on it, it masks the flavor," Kristen Shirley, a self-described caviar connoisseur, tells the Times. "Why are you eating something that costs $200 an ounce just for it to taste like red onion?" Plus, "your skin will gently warm the caviar, which releases even more flavor," Shirley writes at La Patiala, offering a one-minute tutorial. Mahira Rivers at New York also reported on this craze back in March, noting city restaurants are adding luxury-ingredient supplements like caviar, uni, and truffles to their menus in "an era of peak 'affordable' luxury." "Working from home all the time ... things can get redundant," one diner told the outlet. "For me, it's a way to experience new things." (More food trends stories.)

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