Friday, May 25, 2007

Japanese Snack Week: Amiyaki Surume

I pretty much love squid. Fried, dried, shredded, sauteed - it's all good in my book. Japan has all kinds of squid snacks - from the typical shredded kind to the super stinky ones that come on little barbeque skewers. Last time I went to JAS mart I picked up these ones which I've never seen before. The English translation on the back simply says "SEASONED SQUID" or "AMIKYAKI SURUME" and there's a little guy on the package with a squid hat and a beer so I assume this is kind of their equivalent to beer nuts. Seem harmless enough...

If the smell doesn't scare you away as soon as you open the bag, maybe the actual squid will. These suckers are big! It's the ENTIRE dried squid, as if it got washed up on the ocean and sat in the sun for weeks. The texture is tough as leather, I felt like I was gonna rip my teeth out when I tried to bite a piece off (I guess you should probably try ripping it into little bite size pieces and let it soak in your mouth till it gets soft). But on the upside, the taste is probably as close to actual "squid" flavor, being that they do not seem to be over salted or flavored with MSG or spice. Really natural and understated. Just don't try and talk to pick up on girls after drinking beer and eating these - squid + alcohol breath = not a good look.

TASTE (5) Kind of bland, but really good if you want a "true" squid flavor.

PACKAGING (7) You gotta love the little guy with the squid hat and beer. Bonus points for the resealable bag that keeps the freshness (and smell) in.

Overall snackability rating (4) If you're hard up for some tough squid action, go for it (and get a six pack of Sapporo while you're at it). Otherwise I'd recommend the shredded variety (SAKI IKA brand is good) or the barbequed stinky kind on a skewer.


Theee Casual Male said...

That looks so incredibly foul... like a balloon you found under someone's tire on a Do the Right Thing level hot summer's day. Kudos to you for braving it out and trying it. Awesome first blog entry Snackmaster!

Snickerdoodles McPoppycock said...

yuck... Somebody's gotta enjoy that shit I guess/

Dirty Diamonds said...

Nice one SnackMaster. Way to throw your chips on the table with an 'all in' entry.

snackmaster said...

yeah - i kinda went all in on the dried squid tip... Next one will be a bit more tasty (in a good way), i promise!

Kerwin said...

you must, must try panfrying them. and then eating it with some good quality white vinegar (i think the one i have is made from sugar cane maybe, anyways it's from the philippines and i bought it at an asian grocery). i keep it in a bottle and chilling out with some garlic and fresh chillies. and that on top of plain rice.

shawn said...

Alright dude, im a half white, half japanese guy and I recognize the squid you have in the pic. This is how my japanese mom used to prepare it for me.

1. Just the thought of you eating it straight out of the package makes me cringe. Although the filipino guy who said to cook it in a frying pan is heading in the right direction, its not the true japanese way.

2. Preparation: All you have to do is heat it over a flame or electric stove burner using some kind of utensil, or chopsticks so you dont burn your hand. Dont burn it, your just heating it up. You can tell its almost done when it starts to fold in half. Then flip it over until it starts folding the other way. Remove from heat and quickly pull it into strips while its malleable.

3. The dipping sauce you want for this is to use 2/3 part mayo and 1/3 soy sauce. mix it till its creamy. The surume winds up the toughness of beef jerky with a slightly roasted taste. Dip and enjoy.

I beg of you to try it like this. Every single person that has tried it this way after I made has proclaimed it the best beer condiment of all time. Let me know what you think.