Japanese Dried Squid Snacks: Surume, Noshi-ika, Saki-ika
“Surume (するめ)”, also known as “Atarime (あたりめ)”, is a Japanese dried squid snack enjoyed typically as an accompaniment for alcoholic drinks or “Otsumami (おつまみ)”.
There is a variety of such dried squid snacks in Japan, which include “Noshi-ika (のしいか)” and “Saki-ika (さきいか)”.
3 Common Types of Japanese Dried Squid Snacks
Surume, Noshi-ika, and Saki-ika are common types of Japanese dried squid snacks. In their names, the word “ika (いか)” means squid or cuttlefish, but what kinds of snacks are they?
First off, Surume is a traditional Japanese food made typically of squid called “Surume Ika (スルメイカ)” that has been gutted and dried under the sun. Hence, it has almost the same shape as the original.
After toasting/grilling and shredding the whole squid into thin strips by hand, we Japanese eat the Surume shreds, typically dipping in a sauce of mayonnaise and Shichimi Togarashi.
Next, Noshiika is a Japanese snack food made of dried squid that’s been heated and flattened out with iron rollers. Thus, it is tender and thin as compared to Surume squid.
As for the variety, Noshi-ika comes in 2 types; one is unseasoned, while the other is sweetened with sugar, starch syrup, and honey and has the perfect balance between sweet and savory.
By the way, there is a Dagashi snack named Noshiika Taro, but it is made not of squid but from fish paste or Surimi.
Lastly, in the name of Sakiika, “Saki (さき)” or “Saku (裂く)” is the word for “shred”. So Saki-ika is a dried shredded squid snack. As with Surume, Saki-ika has been a long-time favorite Otsumami in Japan.
Originally, it is made from grilled Surume, but in recent years, many are produced from raw squid.
The original type is sold typically by the name of “Surume Sakiika (するめさきいか)”, while the latter is often named “Soft Sakiika (ソフトさきいか)” as its texture is tender compared to the former.
Like Noshi-ika, Saki-ika is available in 2 types; one is seasoned mainly with salt and sugar.
Meanwhile, the other is unseasoned, so they can be eaten in the same method as shredded Surume, dipping in mayo blended with Shichimi Togarashi.
Thank you for this post. Ten years ago, my wife and I traveled Bōsō Hantō by train, stopping many places. We were walking on one beach eating dried cuttlefish on a stick. I assume this was surume-ika. Or is there adifferent name for this snack?
Thank you for the comment!
The seafood you ate ten years ago was probably “Yaki Ika (焼きイカ)”, or grilled whole squid, which is often served on a stick, while Surume (snack name) is usually broiled first, cut into thin strips with hands, and eaten with mayonnaise. But it seems that Yaki Ika is often made with Surume Ika (squid name)!