November 16, 2004
Video of Live Octopus Dish
Last month in Seoul, I tried live octopus (산낙지/san-nak-ji).
I've eaten a bunch of almost-live/just-died seafood that continue to wiggle as they are served. (Only in Asia, though. Asian people have a fascination with watching the animal suffer as they eat. I don't get it myself. Or maybe Westerners would have a similar fascination if there weren't those pesky animal rights people around.) For example, I've had fish and lobster where the heads and tails are still moving while you eat the flesh, but at least the flesh is "dead." But this dish of raw octopus contains still moving flesh. Some pieces are hard to pick up as the suction cups are still working and they are stuck onto the plate. Not sure if my host was pulling my leg, but I was told to chew them real well before swallowing to avoid the pieces from suctioning to my esophagus. Lovely.
We got to pick our victim from the tank ourselves. The lady at the restaurant advised against our first pick, a lively looking fella. Apparently, the active ones are a little loco and don't taste good, therefore you should pick the more sedate ones. Whatever. She could have told us anything and we would have had no choice but to believe her. Any Korean readers out there can confirm or deny her claim?
So how was it? How do you think it was? I don't even like octopus sushi (tako) so I didn't much like this either.