UPDATE: 2012-01-20 Reader “correcto” asserted that this is definitely not an octopus. In my original post I did say it was a squid, but admitted to being suspicious of mentions of it being octopus based on a few anatomy shots, which persuaded me otherwise. However, I now have a video that shows squid being prepared and it’s more obvious that it’s not an octopus.
It’s still rather grotesque, but I take back what I said about the creature still being alive.
It is possible to re-animate dead appendages with a little salt, either table salt or in solution form as soy sauce. Be warned, this may put you off your breakfast. In the first video (which seems to have first appeared on the web a couple of years ago but a variant of which went viral this week), the dish – Ika Odori Don* – served raw is made to dance by pouring on soy sauce. The sodium ions stimulates still active neurones in the just-dead sea creature. In the second, the frogs’ legs are made to twitch by application of salt, with a similar effect.
I am not sure of the translation here. Squid is “ika” and octopus is “tako”. “Odori” is a traditional dance. Does “don” mean rice bowl? Either way, most sites say that “Ika Odori-don” translates loosely as “dancing squid rice bowl”. The head from a live squid (is it a squid or an octopus?) is removed and served on top of a bowl of sushi rice, accompanied by sashimi prepared from the head (usually sliced ika (squid) and ika-kimo (squid liver) as well as other seafood.
Apparently, the concept was introduced by a sushi restaurant a couple of years ago as a marketing gimmick. Nice. And, they wonder why people become vegetarians…you don’t see asparagus tips dancing when you pour on melted butter, after all, and presumably nor would you want to.
- What is the difference between a octopus and squid (wiki.answers.com)
- How To: Harvest your own squid ink (boingboing.net)
- Steamed squid… (thebloggingpath.com)