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Oct 18, 2009 11:44 PM

live squid....elsewhere in japan? in new york?


so....this is my first post on this board, or on chowhound at all in fact. i have used this as an invaluable resource all over the place, but particularly on two recent trips to japan.

this is a shot in the dark....while visiting a friend's family in Kyushu (a couple of hours away from Fukuoka....past Karatsu.....) my wife and i were taken to a restaurant in a little town on the coast. the meal was phenomenal, one of our absolute highlights...

the restaurant featured a huge pool in the middle of the main room that was filled with live squid. for each diner, a whole squid was brought out (still alive). the back was sliced and was eaten as sashimi (still alive!), then scissors were brought out. the tentacles were snipped off (still alive!! moving...) and eaten. finally, whatever was left over was taken away and returned as tempura. you can imagine how fantastic it was...

a couple of friends are planning a trip to japan and i was hoping to find some place that might do something similar in tokyo or kyoto. this place was WAY off the beaten path, particularly for your average tourist. a longer shot in the dark would be if anyone knows of a place in new york city that does some kind of similar preparation (i know about a couple of the live octopus places).

anyway...thanks in advance, and here are a couple of pictures to go with it....

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    1. If anyone knows a place to order live squid in New York, please post about it on the appropriate board, Tristate for Upstate NY, Outer Boroughs, or Manhattan boards. Please post a link to NY posts here, so we can all know where to look. Thanks so much!

      1. Hakata(Fukuoka) is known for that live clear squid. It's very hard to find outside of Hakata. In fact, the quality you had on the coast can't be even found in the city of Fukuoka. I had it there just last month--I wasn't impressed. I was with a native Fukuokan and she said that was the best we could expect in the city. After I left Kyushu, she went to the coast and had a much better quality.

        Having said that, there is a place in Osaka that serves this squid. (Obviously, it won't be the same quality you had, though.)
        Hakata Batten in Shinsaibashi (no Eng page or info available)

        They get so many pieces of squid from Hakata air shipped every day and run out so you have to make a reservation or get there early. Also, they won't get it when the sea is rough due to the bad weather (The live squid wasn't available at most places in Hakata on our first day in Hakata due to the bad weather.


        They serve other Hakata and Kyushu dishes, incl. horse sashimi--again, no comparison to what you can get in Kyushu, but acceptable in Osaka.

        8 Replies
        1. re: kuidaore

          thanks very much for the reply!

          in tokyo, we also went to a place called Kyushu in Shibuya that was pretty good. i don't remember if this squid was on the menu there, but perhaps...

          off-topic, but i didn't know horse sashimi was particular to kyushu or hakata...another place that we stumbled into in Kyoto had fantastic horse sashimi (everything was great here actually):

          i don't speak japanese, but it looks like this might be a chain by their website...

          1. re: tjust

            Kumamoto is THE place for horse meat. I had superb horse sashimi at a ryotei in Hakata, though. It was marbled. (Can't go back to Hakata Batten in Osaka anymore...)

            An associate in Hakata highly recommends a horse meat place called "Konomi". They serve horse liver sashimi, grilled drained horse vessels and other horse parts. I didn't have time to go there last month.

            Probably this one

            Don't think you can get fresh squid like that in Kagoshima because the squid is from Genkai-nada.

            In fact, you can get fresher squid in Saga than Fukuoka.
            Yobuko in Saga is famous for its squid.

            The squid I had in Fukuoka wasn't this fresh!

            The Fukuoka restaurant where I had the squid originally started in Yobuko and I'm pretty sure the squid I had came from Yobuko (but probably it was a day old!


            Yobuko is also known for whale-fishing. I was surprised the whale meat was widely available at department and grocery stores in Fukuoka (not so in other parts of Japan).

            1. re: kuidaore

              man...thanks so much for all this great information. now i am dying to get back to hakata (also for those great yatai!) that video nails it too!

              i need to check....we may have been in yobuko after all...there was a lovely bridge out f the restaurant and the distance seems about right for the drive.

              1. re: tjust

                ok, it was indeed in Yobuko and the restaurant was named Kawataro.

                we had good whale at Galali in Tokyo (Aoyama).

                thanks everyone for your replies!

              2. re: kuidaore

                I have found whale readily available, in many forms, in Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Hakodate.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Hi Silverjay,

                  Haven't seen you post on the Japan Board in a while; I'm always looking forward to your restaurant experiences. :)

                  How were the whale dishes you tried in Tokyo and Kanazawa? Is it worth a trip to a particular restaurant just to try it? Thanks! :)

              3. re: tjust

                Again, another link to a "shitamachi" place, counter, live squid, tempura of the geso,... :
                Miyoshi -Asakusa

              4. re: kuidaore

                so would they do this dish well in kagoshima do you think?

              5. Kyushu is famous for Yobuko aori ika squid. Yobuko is the name of the fishing village that it comes from and the type of squid is aori ika. It is served while it is still alive. My husband is a seafood buyer and he was amazed at how good it was when we were in Fukuoka.

                I have heard of a Korean restaurant in Queens (mentioned in the recent Edibles magazine) that serves live octopus but have not heard about the live squid.

                Here is a photo of the live Yobuko squid we had in Fukuoka and the name of the restaurant where we had it.


                1. You can get live squid at Nabura in Tokyo. I had it there two years ago.