Octopus

Octopuses inhabit diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and deimatic displays, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. They trail their eight arms behind them as they swim. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopus, is known to be deadly to humans.

Octopus is eaten in many cultures. They are a common food in Mediterranean and Asian sea areas. The arms and sometimes other body parts are prepared in various ways, often varying by species or geography.  Live octopuses are eaten in several countries around the world, including the US.  Octopus is a typical dish in Galicia, Spain, they prepare it in a variety of ways, however, one of the most common ways to prepare it is what they call “á feira”, in this case, they cook the octopus, cut it and add salt, olive oil and some spicy paprika, in some cases, octopus may be accompanied with some cooked potatoes.  Octopus is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, including sushi, takoyaki and akashiyaki.  In Korea, some small species are sometimes eaten alive as a novelty food. A live octopus is usually sliced up and it is eaten while still squirming. Nakji bokkeum is another popular dish in Korea. It’s a type of stir-fried food made with chopped octopus.  Miruhulee boava is a Maldivian delicacy made of octopus tentacles braised in curry leaves, chili, garlic, cloves, onion, pepper, and coconut oil.  In Portugal octopus is eaten Lagareiro style, i.e. roasted with potatoes, herbs, onion, garlic, and olive oil.  Hongzhang is a famous Singapore delicacy. The ingredients include steamed octopus limbs, and a sauce of pork skin, pepper and flour. This chewy dish is common in Singapore and most traditional Chinese restaurants would serve it.  A common scene in the Greek islands is octopuses hanging in the sunlight from a rope, just like laundry from a clothesline. They are often caught by spear fishing close to the shore. The fisherman brings his prey to land and tenderizes the flesh by pounding the carcass against a stone surface. Thus treated, they are hung out to dry, and later will be served grilled, either hot or chilled in a salad. They are considered a superb meze, especially alongside ouzo.

Octopus is eaten regularly in Hawaii, since many popular dishes are Asian in origin. Locally known by their Hawaiian or Japanese names (he’e and tako, respectively), octopus is also a popular fish bait.  Cooked Octopus is a source of vitamin B3, B12, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.

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