Monday, May 7

Japanese "Dancing Squid" dish causing quite a stir

Even though the mantle is sliced, the squid tentacles are still wiggling (photo)

What could possibly be fresher than Japanese sushimi? Live seafood, that's what.

And this cuisine just happens to be gaining some popularity across Japan. Called "odori-don", or "bowl of rice with something dancing on top," the appeal not only comes from the supposedly fresher taste, but also the entertainment of it all, obviously.

The mantle (the top "hat" part) of the squid is mostly sliced off leaving just parts of the nervous system intact. Whether the squid is actually cognizant, vegetable, or just a bunch of postmortem muscle spasms is something beyond what I learned in biology 101.

The meal is supposedly rather uncommon but is getting a lot of criticism overseas. In fact, in the comments of this video alone, there is a small war between Japanese and non-Japanese. My favorite comment would probably be:
They have bullfighting in Spain! Europeans exploit Africans for their resources! America slaughters the middle east for its oil! If you think doing this to a squid is cruel, you have no business living in modern society.
It's easy for outsiders to judge aspects of another culture, because they have a completely different vantage point. But in response to the Japanese, I'm sure it's helping their tourism, right?

I'm going to have to admit, the first time I saw or heard anything about this was in the extremely weird, yet awesome movie "Oldboy". If you enjoy this scene, the movie is going to blow you away.

Another concern of ikizukuri, or "prepared live," is the possibility that the seafood is unclean. SankakuComplex comments, "The practice is somewhat notorious for the risk of parasitic infection it carries, although in Japan the animal welfare implications appear mostly to be considered a non-issue."

At least it's not as dangerous as a live octopus—a meal that doesn't go down without a fight. In fact, some have died from it.

1 comment:

  1. I believe the squid, just as octopus, would be of a rubbery consistency. That alone would make it difficult to eat; then add it squirming around being alive. Watching the movie "Oldboy" and seeing how a Japanese guy couldn't even eat the live octopus, I do not think I would fare any better. Fascinating Japanese culture.


You should probably engage in some conversation.