History, meaning and kinds of squid (ika)

squid sushi (ika sushi) bigfin squid surume himono

Japanese eat various squid and squid dishes!?

There are various squids in Japan. Only six kinds of squids among them are cooked as sushi. A bigfin reef squid is the king of squid, and a spear squid is the queen of squid. A Japanese flying squid is the most popular squid in Japan. There are other kinds of squid for cooking sushi, cuttlefish, sword-tip squid and firefly squid.

A bigfin squid is called Aori-ika in Japan because it swims with flapping its filet. Aori or Aoru means flapping. It is flat shape and meaty. It is said that this squid is most delicious squid since its taste and chewiness. Therefore, it is most expensive squid in Japan. The price of it is about 5,000 yen per kilogram (about 50 dollars per 2.2lb). The best season of it is from March to June.

bigfin-squid (aori ika)

A spear squid is called Yari-ika because its shape is like Yari which means spear. It tastes good and soft chewy though its meat is thin. Some Japanese said that it is as good as a bigfin squid. The price of it is about 2,000 yen per kilogram (about 20 dollars per 2.2lb). The best season of it is from February to April.

spear squid (yari ika)

A Japanese flying squid called Surume-ika is the most popular squid in Japan. The catch of it assumes 70% of the whole squid catch. It is used not only sushi but also other dishes, sliced squid called sashimi, boiled squid, grilled squid, deep fried squid and more.

When Japanese called it only Surume, they say dried it or dried fish called Himono. The price of it is about 900 yen per kilogram (about 9 dollars per 2.2lb). The best season of it is from July to October.

surume himono (dried squid)

A cuttlefish squid is called Koh-ika or Mongo-ika because it has the original crest in its body. A crest is called Mon in Japan. It is also used not only sushi but other dishes. Especially, boiled it or grilled it with vegetables is delicious because it is thick and soft through cooking on a fire. The price of it is about 1,500 yen per kilogram (about 15 dollars per 2.2lb). The best season of it is from August to January.

Swordtip squid (sword-tip squid) is called Aka-ika because its body is Aka which means red. It caught in Sanin area and Kyushu area is called Shiro-ika which means white squid though its body is also red. Swordtip squid looks like spear squid, but it is different in that it has more thick body and longer legs. The price of it is about 1,000 yen per kilogram (about 10 dollars per 2.2lb). The best season of it is from May to October.

Firefly squid is called Hotaru-ika because it winks its light like Hotaru which means fireflies. Boiled or raw firefly squid is served as sushi. Some sushi restaurants serve this sushi with Japanese mustard sauce with vinegar and miso. The price of it is about 1,500 yen per kilogram (about 15 dollars per 2.2lb). It is more expensive than other squid except bigfin squid and spear squid though it is very small. The best season of it is from March to May, its best season is very short.

firefly squid (hotaru ika) firefly squid sushi(hotaru ika sushi)

It is said that the most delicious squid is a bigfin squid. Indeed, it is often called king of squid and the price of it is most expensive. However, the taste of it depends on best season and hidden cuts by chef, especially slice of it and sushi. The taste of spear squid in the best season is more delicious than bigfin squid though bigfin squid is the king. The best seasons of them are different, bigfin squid is spring and spear squid is late winter.

In addition, hidden cuts by chef changes the taste of squid. There are three reasons about hidden cuts. The first reason is for cutting thin skin of squid after peeling skin. The second reason is for improving its crisp feeling. The third reason is for easing to put soy sauce because squid is smooth.

squid hidden cut (kakushi-bocho, kakushi-hocho)

A squid sushi is often used a sliced raw squid, but there are some squid sushi cooked on a fire. Ni-ika sushi is used a squid by boiling soy sauce, sugar, sake and sweet sake called Mirin. This sushi tastes stronger than raw squid sushi. Only good-old Edo-style sushi restaurants serve this sushi. In addition, Inrou-zume is a stuffed squid. It is a boiled squid dish, and stuffed with rice, legs of squid, vegetables and some seasonings.

squid inrouzume (inro-zume)

By the way, there are some squid dishes in Japan, Ika-somen, Ika-ichiyaboshi, Shiokara and more. Ika-somen is a noodle dish made from sliced raw squid. It is eaten with dipping noodle soup or soy sauce. This dish in Hakodate city of Hokkaido prefecture is very famous. Ika-ichiyaboshi is half dried squid by drying for a day. It is softer than dried squid. Shiokara is a squid marinated in salt and squid's liver. It is a good nibble for drinks.

You can enjoy various squid dishes including sushi when you travel Japan. If you like sushi and conveyor belt sushi restaurant, you can invest it. Food and life companies (TYO:3563) and Kura Sushi Inc (TYO:2695) are listed in Tokyo Stock Exchange. If you like Japanese squids, you can invest Kyokuyo Co. (TYO:3563) which is the largest fishery company in Japan. These companies are also included some ETFs for investing Japanese companies.