Atarime vs Surume – The difference between the 2 dried squid snacks

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

Atarime and Surume

Actually, these 2 Japanese snacks, Atarime and Surume are the same food, or the quintessential type of Japanese dried squid snacks, both of which are widely enjoyed as classic Otsumami snacks in Japan, along with alcoholic drinks, such as Japanese Sake rice wine and beer.

Most of the Japanese dried squid snack with these 2 different names are made of the Japanese common flying squid called Surume-ika or the Southern squid called Kensaki-ika (The word, ika (イカ) means squid in Japanese.).This is why we usually call the dried squid snack “Surume”, or “Surume-ika”.

We generally enjoy eating the Otsumami snack, Atarime (, or Surume, dipping the food in mayonnaise or the mixture of mayo and soy sauce, after tearing the dried squid into thin strips with hands.(If you want to know the basic way to cook the dried squid, this article will help.)

However, why is the Otsumami snack “Surume” also called “Atarime”?

The reason why Surume is also called Atarime

As I wrote above, although these 2 Japanese finger foods have a different name, they are the same thing, that is, the dried squid made of Surume-ika or Kensaki-ika.However, the food name, Surume includes an unlucky Japanese word, “Suru (擦る)” that loosely means “lose”.

This is why in the old days one replaced “Suru” included in the name of “Surume” with the Japanese word “Atari (当たり)” loosely meaning “win” or “success”.

Since we Japanese traditionally prepare the dried squid as one of the betrothal gifts or offer the food to deities as a lucky charm, in these cases, from the above we generally call the dried squid snack “Atarime”.

Nevertheless, in daily life, you can call the Japanese dried squid snack “Surume” without hesitation.In fact, Surume is the snack name more familiar to many Japanese than Atarime.


I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

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