What Is Ika (squid) ?

Ika (squid) sushi

Ika is a type of cuttlefish but is also known as a squid.  It is usually cut for use in nigiri type sushi but it can also be eaten as sashimi. If you do not know the difference between sashimi and sushi, make sure to read this refresher below (http://pogogi.com/what-difference-between-sushi-vs-sashimi). 

Squid is often quite expensive to purchase and is best to consume it fresh during the winter or the beginning of spring.  Seasonal prices is a big reason for its high prices and probably because it is one of the most popular seafood in Japan along with oysters.

Appearance and Location

Yari Ika is a specific type of squid known as the spear squid.  It can grow up to 16 inches and can way around .5 to .9 pounds.  It is commonly found along the coast of Japan. 

Image source - trueworldfoods.com

The appearance has a transparent look to it and will eventually turn to a more brown like color.  Evidently it will turn to white after being caught, thus making it easy to tell how fresh it is over time.  The fresher the better obviously if you want to taste it at its best.

As mentioned it is best to eat it as sushi (nigiri way), but there are other ways that the Japanese consume squid such as having it grilled, raw (sashimi), sautéed, or simmered with vinegar.

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The Taste

The taste of Ika if you have it as nigiri, has a nice tender and sweet flavor.  If you order it in a Japanese restaurant, they will offer several types of dipping sauces along with wasabi.  The go-to sauce is a mixture of soy sauce and butter.  Wow, now that’s a dipping sauce!!

For more information on the different types of Sushi, please read our sushi page.