Japanese Dried Squid Snacks: Surume, Noshi-ika, and Saki-ika
“Surume (するめ)” is a dried squid snack widely enjoyed in Japan as a finger food for alcoholic drinks. It is the quintessential Japanese squid snack known as an “Otsumami (おつまみ)“.
In addition to Surume, the dried squid snack actually has another name “Atarime (あたりめ)”. As I wrote an article about the difference in specific meaning between Surume and Atarime before, if you are curious about that, please refer to this post.
Apart from Surume and Atarime, there are another 2 major types of dried squid snacks in Japan, which are “Noshi-ika (のしいか)” and “Saki-ika (さきいか)”.
3 Major Types of Dried Squid Snacks in Japan
At this point, you might wonder “what is the meaning of “Ika (いか)”? Actually, Ika means squid or cuttlefish in Japanese.
Then, what types of Japanese dried squid snacks are Surume (Atarime), Noshi-ika, and Saki-ika? Here I will explain the difference between them.
As you may already know, Surume is the traditional Japanese snack food made by cutting the body of squids open, removing the internal organs as unneeded things, and drying the whole squid in the sun. Hence, the dried squid has almost the same shape as the original one.
After grilling and cutting the whole dried squid into thin strips with hands, we Japanese eat the Surume strips typically dipping into a sauce of mayonnaise and soy sauce. If you want to know how to cook Surume dried sqiuds, this article will help.
“Noshi-ika (のしいか)” is the Japanese finger food made by heating dried squids and flattening out the softened ones with iron rollers. Thus, this dried squid snack is soft and very thin in thickness as compared to Surume.
As for the variety, Noshi-ika comes in 2 types, the unseasoned one and the salty sweet one sweetened with sugar, starch syrup, and honey, like what is in the above photo.
“Saki (さき or 裂き)” means shredding something, so Saki-ika refers to dried shredded squid snacks. As with Surume, Saki-ika is widely loved by Japanese as an accompaniment for alcohols.
Originally, the main ingredient of this snack is grilled Surume, but in recent years many Saki-ika snacks are produced using raw squids. Compared to the former, the latter type is generally soft in texture.
In Japan, many of the Saki-ika snacks made from grilled Surume are sold by the name of “Surume Saki-ika (するめさきいか)”, while many of the ones made from raw squids have the name of “Soft Saki-ika (ソフトさきいか)”.
Like Noshi-ika, Saki-ika is available in 2 types in Japan: one is seasoned with salt, sugar and so on, while the other type is unseasoned so they can be eaten in the same manner as Surume, dipping in mayonnaise or a mixture of mayo and soy sauce.