The Difference: Atarime vs Surume dried squid snacks

When it comes to 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.

By the way, have you ever heard of “Otsumami (おつまみ)”? which is the Japanese term that refers to snacks eaten as accompaniments for alcoholic beverages.

Atarime or Surume

Atarime or Surume

Actually, the 2 Japanese Otsumami snacks, Atarime and Surume are the same things, and they are the quintessential type of dried squid snacks that are widely enjoyed in Japan.

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

We typically eat the dried whole squid, Atarime, or Surume, dipping in mayonnaise or the mixture of mayo and soy sauce, after toasting (grilling) and tearing it into thin strips using both hands, like this.

But why does the Otsumami “Surume” have another name “Atarime”?


Japanese Betrothal Gifts

As I mentioned above, Atarime and Surume are the same things, that is, the gutted dried whole squid snack made from Surume-Ika or Kensaki-Ika.

But in terms of the name of Surume, it includes the word “Suru (スル)” that is associated with “Suru (擦る)” loosely meaning “lose” in Japanese.

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

This has been passed down from generation to generation, and today many supermarkets in Japan carry 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. In fact, the name Surume is 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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