Monday, June 18, 2012


You know me, I could eat potato chips all day, and if there’s beer as well I could eat them all night as well.  In fact, sometimes I feel I’m so addicted to them that I look for a salty snack that I like less, just so I eat less.  Salted nuts don’t work because I can actually eat just as many nuts as I can chips, and they’re higher calorie, higher fat, and at least as high salt.  Pretzels work to an extent: there’s a limit to how many I want to eat, but that’s only because I don’t really like them at all.

So when I was in downtown Los Angeles last week, I went to the Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo and bought a bag of amiyaki surume.  Now that’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day.

For the uninitiated, such as myself, amiyaki translates as seasoned, and surume as squid, so what I bought was just a bag of seasoned squid.  I love a good squid and I like dried fish, and you see the picture on the packaging of a little man with a squid hat, and what looks like a tankard of beer.  Worth a try, no?  Worth a try, yes. 

I fact I looked at other squid snacks in the supermarket and many of them involved a lot of sugar, which I didn’t like the sound of.  The top three ingredients in the pack I bought were squid, salt and monosodium glutamate, which would seem to guarantee something suitably savory.  And although many of the ingredients sound pretty inscrutable “glycerin esters of fatty acids,” for instance, there was also citric acid.  What could go wrong?

Well, in fact nothing went wrong at all.  The seasoned squid was very good in its way.  The seasoning was subtle, if perhaps too subtle.  The overall effect was of eating a slightly salty, and (despite everything) a very slightly sweet, piece of fishy rubber: the tentacles were tastier than the body.   True, the Loved One had a taste and began a mime of uncontrollable wretching but she is a sensitive and dramatic soul.

Seasoned squid goes down very well with a beer – and yes, there’s a real limit to how many I’d want to eat at one session.  On the other hand it did kind of leave me craving some real potato chips, preferably salt and vinegar.


  1. This is where I thought you were going with this:

    It's been making the web-rounds lately, and seems sort of up your alley.

  2. That surely does look like an alley in which I might have lurked, but no the news hadn't got this far. It has now. For those who don't know what we're talking about the news comes under the headline "Cooked Squid Inseminates Woman’s Mouth" - which may be as far as you'd actually want to read, but if you're up for it, read on:

    "A 63-yr-old Korean woman experienced severe pain in her oral cavity immediately after eating a portion of parboiled squid along with its internal organs. She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity. Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa. On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.

    "Despite having been boiled, the dead squid’s live spermatophores, or sperm sacks, were alive and penetrated the woman’s mouth. The sacks, which contain ejaculatory devices, forcefully release sperm and a “cement” that attaches the sperm to a wall."

    You really would need a lot of beer after that.

  3. Perhaps allow the Loved One to sample this instead?

    It's also squiddy, also goes superbly with beer, can be found at any Asian grocerer. (If Nijiya is walkable, perhaps K-town is as well?)

    They're definitely dead, so no oral insemination of any kind.