Monday, February 22, 2010

We found live octopus!

After our pathetic failed attempt at live octopus, I was in despair. But thanks to Alex, WFC member and avid fan of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", we found a Korean restaurant in Flushing that is authentic enough for our appetites. (Although, I later discovered that simply typing in "live octopus" on yelp gives us Sik Gaek (16129 Crocheron Ave, Flushing, NY) as the second result but I digress...)



Live octopus lived up to our expectations for a truly bizarre food. I had never eaten anything that still moved in my mouth. Never did my food try to escape from my plate before. The tentacles wrapped around our chopsticks, the suckers stuck to our tongues and moved around our mouths. We couldn't ask for more from this perfect live octopus, so we award the live octopus sashimi at Sik Gaek a 10 out of 10 rating. The dish comes with jalapeno peppers, garlic, dipping sauces and is sure to incite curiosity, fear, excitement, laughter - all of the above.

We were also curious about the hot pot, which was highly recommended on yelp. We saw a neighboring table with it and the sheer gigantic size of it made us want to order it. We didn't realize how horrible it would be to watch a living octopus boil in front of our eyes until it was actually brought to us.

We did not feel good about it. It was sad to watch and we felt worse about ourselves.

We documented this dish on video just so you don't have to get it if you are ever faced with the option. Please be advised: this video is disturbing.

Even though "squeamish" is the last word to describe Weird Food Club members, we didn't have the stomach for this. Despite being absolutely delicious, the live octopus hot pot gets a 1 out of 10 for cruelty, and we do not recommend nor condone it. Perhaps we should have attempted to kill the octopus by striking it in the nerve center (between the eyes) but we were too shocked and ignorant of its anatomy to do so.

After boiling in the water, the octopus was cut up for us with large scissors. Its tentacles were juicy and tender, and we felt that we gave it justice by enjoying it.

RIP Mr. Octopus.

Although arguably equally cruel, the live octopus sashimi just didn't seem as evil as the hot pot, and we think it is an absolute must-try-at-least-once-in-a-lifetime for all adventurous eaters.


  1. hmm, this is a little too much for me, I think. i love going out to flushing to try new food, but i just couildn't handle this.

  2. I love Anthony Bourdain, and I'm a big proponent of being a brave and adventurous eater as well as not wasting perfectly edible parts. But the live octopus tradition, especially the horribly cruel way they are slaughtered at table, is one we could do without. Just as there is no reason to waste perfectly good food, there is also no reason to celebrate our dominance over the creatures we eat by torturing them to death, especially at the table. Just because cats play with their food doesn't mean we have to.

    Octopuses are said to have the same intelligence and awareness levels as dogs. If we cut off a dog's legs at a dinner table and scarfed them down gleefully while the animal was still writhing in pain, there would be protests galore. Just because we can't hear their screams doesn't mean it's not still a horrible practice. We owe the animals we eat a little compassion in their deaths.