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Oct 29, 2013 10:34 AM

Mongo Ika: What is it?

I recently had a piece of mongo ika nigiri at Go's Mart in Canoga Park, CA, and was curious what kind of squid it was. I've had aori ika (bigfin reef squid), hotaru ika (firefly squid), sumi ika ("ink" squid*), yari ika (spear squid), and "regular" unspecified ika before, but never mongo ika.

I searched for mongo ika online and got various definitions, some saying giant squid, others saying just plain cuttlefish. I've seen the term "Banno Mongo" show up on search results. Wikipedia also throws out another potentially related term: "Uzusho Mongo".

Chowhound posts that contain the word mongo also do not shed much light: ("giant squid") ("very large [P]acific kind") (no definition offered) ("cuttlefish")

I've been using to look up Japanese terms. I like it because it can handle various inputs, including English, Romaji, Kanji, Hiragana, Katagana. It also gives latin names for animals, which is helpful to distinguish between separate species.

When I do a search for the word squid (, it gives me a ton of results, including the aforementioned species (aori, hotaru, sumi, yari) plus others like surumeika (common), daiouika (giant), kensakiika (sword tip), mizuika (bigfin reef--synonym of aori?), sayanaika (spear--synonym of yari?), maiika (common, Pacific flying, golden cuttlefish, Japanese spineless), takoika (boreopacific armhook), yuureiika (chiroteuthid).

When I do a search for the word cuttlefish (, I get additional "ika" words like kouika (golden, or any cuttlefish species), hariika (golden, Madokai), shiriyakeika (Japanese spineless).

I cannot find any definition for "mongo" or "uzusho". "Banno" seems to mean "all around" or "all purpose" so perhaps a synonym for "common".

So Chowhound, I need your help. What is mongo? Is it a specific species, a preparation method, something else?


*According to RomajiDesu, sumi ika (, is defined not as squid but cuttlefish, either golden (sepia esculenta) or Japanese spineless (sepiella japonica), for what that's worth. Note that kouika, hariika, maiika, and shiriyakeika also lists one or both of these two species in their definitions.

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  1. もんごういか【紋甲烏賊】mongouika - common cuttlefish

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thanks K K! I was hoping you'd comment, and such a short and simple response to my wall-o-text post. :-) Not being familiar with the language, it's sometimes hard to find alternate spellings or pronunciations.

      Would you say mongouika is a "fancier" way of just saying ika (of unspecified type)?

      FWIW, doesn't recognize the Romaji "mongou" as a term, and looks like it says 甲 is pronounced "kou" rather than "gou".

      How about "banno mongo" or "mongo uzusho"?

      1. re: PeterCC

        That I don't know, sorry.

        But in Taiwan, squid can be referred to as 花枝、烏賊、墨魚、透抽、小卷 ,軟絲. In China they use 墨魚 or 柔魚

        It's also referred to as 虎紋甲烏賊 or 姬紋甲烏賊 in Taiwan.
        The 紋甲 or 虎紋甲 refers to the exterior skin or shell that looks like tiger stripes (the raw interior of course, is white).