What Does Octopus Taste Like?
Are you curious about what does octopus taste like? We will do our best to describe it here. Keep reading…
Fond of Japanese food?
If you are a Japanese food enthusiast, chances are you have come across takoyaki and even okonomiyaki – both of which normally feature octopus as part of their main list of ingredients.
As a matter of fact, Japan is not the only country to utilize octopus.
Korea is known for its san-nakji, a practice in which one eats a small octopus served live. Though both of these have their fans, many people around the world still don’t know what octopus tastes like.
An eight-armed wonder, the octopus is often compared to a squid. Despite similarities in appearance, octopus bears a unique taste compared to other seafood.
So, if you want to know what an octopus tastes like and find out more about the popular cuisines featuring this mollusk, make sure to keep on reading.
What Is an Octopus?
An eight-armed cephalopod, octopuses fall under the family of mollusks found in the ocean. Cephalopod literally translates to head-foot, meaning these creatures have limbs directly attached to their heads.
A defining characteristic of an octopus is its long arms. While many people confuse arms and tentacles, arms generally have numerous suckers, helping octopuses grasp their food and feed themselves.
They also help these marine animals stay attached to surfaces as the suckers are quite sticky.
Some octopuses prefer to live in the depths of the ocean, while others prefer to hang out in shallow areas near the surface.
Aside from their famous long arms, these creatures have large, bulging eyes and big, rounded bodies. Similar to squid, an octopus might shoot a dark inky fluid when it feels threatened.
Lastly, these majestic creatures have the ability to transform their color to camouflage and blend with their surroundings – from pink, blue, gray, brown, and more, it is certainly a scene to behold.
Octopus as a Food and Delicacy
As stated earlier, the octopus is a South Korean delicacy that is normally eaten live. However, it can be consumed in pieces or as a whole, which is largely dependent on its size.
Served live, the sannakji dish from South Korea comes splashed with sesame oil. B
ecause it is served while still alive, the squirming arms of the octopus have a tendency to attach to the throat – making this a fatal event for the consumer if not properly executed.
In the neighboring Asian country of Japan, citizens and tourists alike consume octopus. When served raw and eaten as part of a sashimi plate, it is usually sliced paper thin to avoid a tough and chewy texture.
However, for sushi, the octopus is always cooked by poaching and only the leg sections are utilized by chefs.
In other parts of Japan, particularly Osaka, takoyaki (grilled octopus dumplings) and okonomiyaki (grilled pancakes) use octopus as a primary ingredient.
The batter, made with vegetables, complements the sweet-savory sauce drizzled on top – releasing the juicy and smoky flavors of the sea creature.
Spain and Portugal also utilize octopus, often seasoned with paprika. Apart from its appearance in tapas, paella also frequently contains octopus.
What Does an Octopus Taste Like?
Consumed raw, octopus tastes like the sea – salty and sweet at the same time. Depending on its seasonings, normally paired with sesame oil, raw octopus takes on a subtle, nutty flavor.
It retains its smooth and slimy texture, which can also feel rubbery.
When cooked on its own, this seafood can taste quite bland.
However, when properly prepared, this seafood has subtle hints of sweetness as well. Its flavor and texture profile can sometimes bear similarities to chicken, scallops, or even lobster due to the delicate nature of its meat.
It is meaty, tender, and crunchy in one thanks to its exterior.
Depending on the preparation method, the meat can also feel tough and chewy, almost becoming rubbery in the process. Because of this, one must take care when handling this type of mollusk.
The Bottom Line
Octopus is a staple ingredient in various parts of the world. But to many, they remain a delicacy and a mystery. Because of its versatility, you can prepare octopus in a number of ways.
Try it grilled, stewed, braised, fried, steamed, or even raw.
Now that you know the flavor profile of this mollusk, feel free to experiment with this ingredient and add your own twist.
Better yet, start venturing out of your comfort zone and head to a nearby market to get a taste and feel of what octopus is like today. We hope you enjoyed our explanation of what octopus taste like. Cheers!