The Weird But Unbelievably Satisfying Taste Of Octopus
Octopus dishes have been making waves. Most people love it grilled or roasted. But some people want to try the more traditional way of eating it – raw. So, what does octopus taste like?
When cooked right, this cephalopod is delicious and perfectly tender. When you eat it raw, it’s mushy and chewy. You may think eating live octopus is gross at first, but you’ll later find that its chewiness is quite pleasurable.
Its tenderness and chewiness combined with other accompaniments make your octopus eating experience perfect. Koreans, who eat live octopus as part of their centuries-old tradition, eat it along with the spicy and delicious sauce.
It is what most foreigners miss. The accompaniments, especially the sauce, make eating octopus an enjoyable culinary experience.
Three Main Reasons To Eat Octopus Live
You might be thinking that eating octopus is like joining the TV show Fear Factor, where you have to do disgusting challenges just to get the price. In fact, the taste of octopus served right is price enough. You might be wondering why a more and more people love this new sensation.
Here are three of the major reasons why you should eat octopus (and Live!):
There is no question that the chewiness of live octopus is what makes it very attractive. It is one of the reasons why Koreans, who love chewy food, love eating octopus live.
2. Health Benefits
Besides the chewiness, eating it live also brings a few health benefits. It is rich in iron, protein, and various vitamins. It also offers stamina, which could help you refresh your body and boost up your energy, but if you can’t stomach eating live octopus, eating it cooked still brings the same health benefits.
3. Combine With Sauce
The mistake of most people is they eat live octopus without sauce. If you do this, you might complain that it is not tasty. Most Koreans eat live octopus after dipping it in a sauce. Famous Korean restaurants offer their special sauce. Usually, thy dip it in a sauce made out of Sesame oil with Ssamjang, or Red chili pepper, or crushed garlic.
A Sensational New Culinary Trend
Jin Yamazaki, the owner of Sushi Taro in D.C., said that they have been eating octopus for hundreds of years as part of their long-standing cultural tradition.
Now, eating octopus has become a noticeable trend in the US. Although animal rights activists and PETA condemn eating it, more and more restaurants in California and New York are serving these sensational cephalopods.
Here are the best octopus dishes you can try in San Francisco and the Bay Area:
Burnt Octopus With Butternut Squash Amba
Octopus is one of the most popular seafood in the Eastern Mediterranean, which inspired the new Mission restaurant called Tawla. Chef Joseph Magidow prepares it with butternut squash amba, which is a mango pickle condiment. He pairs it with braised dandelion greens creating a delicious balance of various seasons from all over the world.
Octopus A La Plan
chaIf you want a crispy but tender serving of the octopus dish, you should try Chef John Griffiths’ preparation at the New American restaurant called Bluestem Brasserie. He complements it with the saltiness of the Ligurian olives, the sweetness of orange, the spiciness of Espelette peppers, and the starchiness of braised fingerlings.
Try octopus in a poke bowl or as a raw sushi serving at the Limu Shovu. It is served with kimchi, white onions, wasabi shoyu and various other garnishes over rice or salad. The octopus they serve come straight from Spain and not from Hawaii.
Piastra Roasted Octopus
Imagine a roasted octopus served on a piastra, which is an Italian griddle surface created from granite. The serving is light and fresh due to radishes, oil crushed potatoes, salsa verde, and garum. This dish is creatively refined and crisp. You can try this at a restaurant called Perbacco, which has pasta and secondi as their popular dishes.
If you want to try a dramatic serving of the octopus you should go to Healdsburg’s Bravas Barde Tapas, which is an excellent Spanish restaurant. It is visually exciting as an enormous tentacle is spread across your platter. The chef adds smoked paprika, olive oil, fingerling potatoes, and unpitted olives.
The Secret To Cooking Octopus (And No They Don’t Taste Like Squid)
One of the downsides of cooking octopus is it smells. But you can get over it if you think about how good it will feel like once it’s done. If you cook it wrong, it can get too chewy and tough, like eating bubble gum without an end until your jaw becomes as buff as a bodybuilder’s bicep.
A lot of people even mistake cooked octopus for calamari. They are not the same since calamari is a squid. Remember that octopus and squid doesn’t taste the same. Squid flesh is smoother compared to the octopus. When octopus is cooked right, it tastes more like lobster.
The secret in preparing this cephalopod is to have a lot of patience as you’d have to go long and slow. It also requires a lot of timing, since cooking it too quick will make it tough, while cooking it too long makes it mushy.
If you get the right timing, the dish is tender, chewy enough, and succulent. You can try grilling it until it’s crispy and add a simple squeeze of lemon to the mix.
Octopus In Japan
Japanese value octopus as one of their famous delicacies. The way they serve it is a bit chewy, but they are clean and sweet. You can try the octopus in sashimi style, which is served without rice. Meanwhile, the sushi style octopus is served with rice. You can also go for the Octopus Sunomono, which is sliced over seaweed salad and cucumber.
Octopus In Portugal
Octopus is hard to find in the US, but in Portugal, it is part of their traditional culinary culture. You can try Coimbra’s Arroz de Polvo, which is served with tomato rice mixed with onion, spice, and parsley. If prepared right, this serving is deliciously addictive.
You can also go for the rich, tasty Polvo a lagareiro, which is roasted octopus with olive oil, garlic, and potatoes. You can try the Polvo assado, which is a simple roasted octopus with peeled potatoes and sauce.
Don’t Let The Look Fool You
You might be thinking of Davey Jones’ face in “Pirates of the Caribbean” when thinking of octopus. Yes, they may seem like the stuff of nautical horror, but they are delicacies for various other countries and people.
It is tender, chewy, and when mixed with the right accompaniments, can be very delicious. It must be cooked just right for the best octopus eating experience.
With the idea of how it would taste like, do you plan on eating octopus anytime soon? Have you tried one before? If you have, how did it taste like?