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foodjapan.net - Squid "Odori-don"

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Squid "Odori-don"

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[food]* A small, live squid is freshly prepared and served almost-whole on a bed of sushi rice in this rather memorable (in many ways) Hakodate dish.


Literally "dancing squid rice bowl". A live squid with its head removed is served on top of a bowl of sushi rice, accompanied by sashimi prepared from the head (usually sliced ika (squid) and ika-kimo (squid liver)) as well as other seafood.

Seasoned soy sauce is first poured on top of the squid to make it "dance": 



The body is then removed and prepared by the chef, to be served up again as a side dish. 

Prices average around ¥2,000 (£15.30 / $24.40) per person.




Although standard ika-don (squid rice bowl) prepared from live squid is both traditional and ubiquitous in Hakodate - squid is one of its main exports - this "dancing" method of preparation was only recently introduced by the sushi restaurant Ikkatei Tabiji as, largely, a marketing gimmick.

Nevertheless, the trend has spread and odori-don is now offered (under a variety of other names, as the original term is patented) at a sizeable number of locations across Hakodate.


Ika-kimo (squid liver)




A number of restaurants in Hakodate are starting to serve odori-don, which might also be referred to as ike ika-don (live squid rice bowl) or similar variations thereof. The restaurant which first served odori-don is Ikkatei Tabiji.

Ikkatei Tabiji

8-20 Wakamatsu-cho

0500 - 1500 Apr - Oct / 0600 - 1400 Nov - Mar
Tel: 0138-27-6171


Getting there: 3 min. walk from JR Hakodate Station




Those of you inclined to try this will likely try it regardless of what I write, so there's really not much to say. Food flailing around on your plate (and sucking with morbid tenacity to the inside of your mouth) will of course always be of interest to some, although in culinary terms: it's passable, but an entire squid is a lot to eat in one sitting. Despite appearances the squid isn't the freshest: although alive at the time of preparation, these have obviously been sitting in the tank for a while, and were bland and hard - there's better to be had.

I did, on the other hand, enjoy the preparation of ika-kimo (squid liver) which was an unexpected but welcome bonus: it tastes rather like a poor man's uni (with a rawer, more powerful taste) and was my favourite part of the meal. All in all a rather mixed feeling on this one: the foodie inside says no, but the inner kid (and biology major) says ooooooh, yes. ♥♥+1/2

Day 21: Hakodate blog entry coming soon! Stay tuned.

Have you ever tried odori-don? What do you think? Just a gimmick, animal cruelty or the most "dynamic" meal ever? Send in an e-mail, comment below or @reply on Twitter / twitter.com/foodjapan


10 Sec. Blurb

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The administrative and cultural capital of Japan, Tokyo is home to 12 million people, 160,000 restaurants and the most Michelin stars in the world (227)
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Uni, or sea urchin, is one of the most treasured delicacies in Japan, but it's also eaten in Chile, the West Indies and in Mediterranean cuisine.
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