Atarime vs Surume: Japanese Dried Whole Squid

When it comes to Japanese snack foods for alcoholic drinks or “Otsumami (おつまみ)”, “Atarime (あたりめ)” and “Surume (するめ)” are two of the most common.

Atarime or Surume

Atarime or Surume

In the first place, Atarime and Surume are the same things. They are a classic Otsumami consisting of dried squid.

The majority of snacks with these names are made from Japanese flying squid “Surume-Ika (スルメイカ)” or sword-tip squid “Kensaki-Ika (ケンサキイカ)” that’s been gutted and dried in the sun.

We eat the resulting dried whole squid dipping in mayonnaise, after toasting and tearing it into thin strips by hand, like this.

But why does the Otsumami Surume have another name of Atarime?


Japanese Betrothal Gifts

As mentioned above, Atarime and Surume are the same things.

But in terms of the name of Surume, it includes the word “Suru (スル)” pronounced the same way as “Suru (擦る)” loosely meaning “lose” in Japanese.

Because of the bad meaning, in the old days, Suru was replaced with “Atari (当たり)” meaning “win” or “success”,

for Japanese people traditionally prepare a whole dried squid as one of the betrothal gifts and offer it to deities as a lucky charm.

But supermarkets in Japan carry both Atarime and Surume.

Actually, in everyday life, Surume is more often used to refer to dried Surume-Ika and is more famailir to us. 

Of course, you can use the word without hesitation.

(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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