The ’Dancing’ Squid: Are you Brave Enough to Try this Freaky Japanese Experience?

  • FOOD
  • Most people already know that you are bound to discover a variety of what some may consider very strange food here in Japan. However, did you know that you can actually eat a dancing squid? That’s right, up on the northern island of Hokkaido, you can eat a squid that’s still moving!

    Fresh squid coming right up!


    Author’s photo

    In the Hakodate region of Japan, there is a special dish you can try if you’re feeling adventurous and is said to be the freshest sashimi you will find anywhere! When you order the squid, the staff member will choose a live one from the tank – watching them catch it is half the fun. They use a net to corner the squid, then grab it with their hands and take it out of the tank! It’s very exhilarating to watch, and also means that it’s definitely fresh!

    The freakiness begins

    The staff will then prepare the squid for you to enjoy. They chop off the head and slice the body into sashimi strips. When the squid is served, the head is also placed on your plate. However, that’s not the only freaky part. If you touch the tentacles with your chopsticks, you will actually see it move all by itself! This is why it’s called the dancing squid – it is actually dead, but it acts like its still alive! The movement lasts for a good 10 minutes, so you’re able to enjoy the experience while you eat your sashimi.

    Final preparation


    Author’s photo

    Finally, when the squid has stopped ‘dancing’ the staff will return and take it away to prepare it for eating. You’re given different options as to how you want it cooked, we chose grilled and it was delicious!

    This way, you really get to enjoy every inch of the squid! And, you get a bit of dinner entertainment as it ‘dances’ before your eyes! However, if you’re a bit squeamish, then this dish may not be for you! For those that enjoy strange food along with a new experience, then this is for you! This is a popular dish in Hakodate but can also be found in Sapporo too!

    Japan Restaurant Website


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