Many people would consider octopus as somewhat of a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world. Not only because of its incredibly unique mouthwatering taste but also because of how nutritious it is, with each bite being packed full of healthy benefits.
Truth be told, there aren’t many foods that pique people’s curiosity as much as octopus, especially when it comes to flavor.
No matter what kind of fish or meat you’ve enjoyed in the past, octopus tends to have a very distinct flavor that grabs elements from these types of foods, while still tasting incredibly unique all on its own.
If you’re one of these people who has been curious about the taste of octopus for a while, or if you’re visiting a fancy restaurant very soon and want to know if you should take the plunge and order one yourself, we’ve got the full breakdown of this popular delicacy right here for you.
How Healthy Is Octopus?
Any seafood lover will know that most types of fish are incredibly healthy, with them being an integral part of a healthy diet that provides us with plenty of high-quality protein and calcium to help keep us feeling strong and healthy.
Octopus also includes high levels of protein and calcium but is packed with even more benefits, making it a great choice to order off the menu for anyone who is trying to stick to a healthy and more nutritional diet plan.
Octopus contains Vitamins B6 and B12, along with copper, zinc, iron, selenium, and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are the “good fats” that have been shown to improve artery health.
While it may be high in good fats, octopus is incredibly low in regular fat and calories, so you won’t even need to worry about your daily calorie count skyrocketing while you enjoy the succulent taste of this delightful seafood option.
How Does Cooked Octopus Taste?
The exact taste of octopus can be quite difficult to describe since it is a medley of several different flavors mixed into one, making it unlike any other type of fish or meat, but the best way to describe it is the perfect mix between sweet and salty.
Many people would initially assume, just by looking at the long and rubbery tentacles of an octopus, that the skin would also be very tough and difficult to bite into, but it is usually the exact opposite.
If prepared correctly, the skin will be very tender and easy to bite into while still having enough firmness so that it doesn’t fall apart too easily.
Some restaurants will offer raw octopus which has an exterior that is a lot chewier, and while you should definitely try this out if you’re curious, the softer texture can be more appealing if you want to dig straight into the flavor at the center.
If you’ve ever enjoyed the succulent and rich meaty taste of white chicken or pork meat, octopus essentially tastes like a slightly milder version of those, with a slight hint of salty fishiness thrown into the mix too.
Food That Tastes Similar To Octopus
Squid and calamari are probably the closest comparisons to octopus in terms of taste, specifically in the sense that they too have a salty but also fairly sweet flavor without tasting overly fishy, despite many people thinking that they would initially.
Another very close comparison is lobster which shares an identical tender and chewy texture with octopus and also contains that delicate sweet and salty mixture that helps to elevate the flavor and make this seafood so beloved.
With that being said, lobster tends to be slightly sweetener than octopus, especially if they are steamed.
Food That Goes Well With Octopus
While you can certainly enjoy octopus on its own if you just want to enjoy the maximum amount of flavor without any other ingredients getting in the way, in order to make your meal as enjoyable as possible.
It can still be worth incorporating some other ingredients into the dish, and luckily, there are more than a few that pair very well with octopus.
Let’s take a look at some delicious ingredients that you should definitely consider ordering with your octopus:
Bruschetta bread is commonly served alongside octopus, and it’s the perfect ingredient for alleviating some of the saltiness of the food. Sometimes, fried octopus will even be served on top of bread rolls, or even as part of a sandwich.
Many restaurants will place a handful of boiled potatoes in the middle of the plate before then covering them with octopus tentacles.
The softness of the potatoes provides a perfect contrast to the slightly tougher and more flavorful octopus, making for a delightful combination.
Ramp up the nutritional value of this dish even more by sprinkling a mixture of vegetables around the octopus.
While any veggies will work well, and will all bounce off the very potent taste of the octopus, crunchier vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower tend to work the best as they will counteract the tenderness of the skin.
If you want to go extra-crunchy, you can even simply layer a few beans over the top of the octopus to give you something a bit firmer to chew down on.
Beans also absorb flavors as soon as they are added to a plate, so if you can’t get enough of the salty and sweet flavor, they are the perfect ingredient to add.
How Does Raw Octopus Taste?
Sannakji is a traditional Korean cuisine that is served in many restaurants across the country, and it features live chopped octopus tentacles which are paired up with some sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a dipping sauce called gochujang.
Because the tentacles are chopped off right before the dish is served, they will still be alive and moving around which isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but a lot of people actually enjoy it, especially for its texture which is a lot more rubbery than cooked octopus.
The taste however is a little less exciting. Raw octopus has a very neutral flavor, which is why most people will only consume it when they have a dipping sauce next to them.
Therefore, it is primarily the firm and chewy texture that people enjoy most about eating raw octopus, rather than the flavor which is a lot less noticeable and barely present at all.
Octopus is an incredibly unique food as it somehow manages to taste unlike any other type of seafood, while still retaining that familiar fishy flavor that so many people love, with an extra dose of saltiness and sweetness to boot.
If this sounds like something that your taste buds would love, don’t hesitate to order some the next time you visit a fancy restaurant, or even consider boiling or grilling it yourself if you manage to get your hands on some.