The Difference : Atarime vs Surume Dried Squid Snacks

When it comes to the Japanese snack foods for alcoholic drinks, “Atarime (あたりめ)” and “Surume (するめ)” are the 2 classic Otsumami that are most commonly eaten in Japan.

Have you ever heard of “Otsumami (おつまみ)“? which is the Japanese term referring to the snacks eaten as accompaniments for alcoholic beverages.

Atarime and Surume

Atarime or Surume

Actually, the 2 Japanese Otsumami snacks, Atarime and Surume refer to the same food. They are the quintessential type of Japanese dried squid snacks widely enjoyed in Japan.

The majority of the Japanese snacks with these 2 different names are made by drying the Japanese common flying squid called Surume-ika or the Southern squid called Kensaki-ika after their internal organs are removed as unneeded things. This is why we usually call the dried squid “Surume” or “Surume-ika”.

We typically eat the dried whole squid, Atarime, or Surume, dipping in mayonnaise or the mixture of mayo and soy sauce, after broiling the dried squid and tearing it into thin strips with hands. If you want to know how to cook Surume in detail, this article will help.

At this point, you might wonder why the Otsumami snack “Surume” has another name “Atarime”.

The Difference in Meaning between Surume and Atarime

Japanese Betrothal Gifts

As I wrote above, Atarime and Surume are the same thing, that is, the squid snack made by drying Surume-ika or Kensaki-ika. But in terms of the name of Surume, it includes an unlucky Japanese word “Suru (擦る)” loosely meaning “lose”.

Since we Japanese traditionally prepare the dried whole squid as one of betrothal gifts and offer it to deities as a lucky charm, in the old days one replaced “Suru” included in the name of “Surume” with “Atari (当たり)”, a Japanese word loosely meaning “win” or “success”.

This has been passed down from generation to generation, and now many supermarkets in Japan stock both the dried squid snacks named Surume or Atarime.

As this fact indicates, in daily life, you can call the Japanese dried squid snack “Surume” without hesitation. As a matter of fact, Surume is the snack name more familiar to us Japanese than Atarime.

(Reference Pages : Wikipedia スルメ, )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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