Many people find it difficult to differentiate between octopus and squid taste, since they’re quite similar species and belong to the same animal class. Although they’re quite easy to mix up, they’re quite different in terms of texture, taste, and cooking styles.
Octopus is a major part of Japanese, Chinese, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and even Portuguese cuisines. You may find octopi grilled or served as ceviche or carpaccio. Squid, on the other hand, is commonly found in Italian dishes. One of the famous squid dishes is calamari rings, a classic crispy appetizer that is seasoned with salt and pepper, and sprinkled with lemon juice!
In today’s article, we will clarify everything from taste and texture to what sets the two apart!
Octopus vs. Squid Taste
Squid and octopus are cephalopods that share several similar characteristics, such as physical structure and taste. While there are a myriad of similarities between the two, there are characteristics that set them apart too.
For beginners, octopus flesh is light, tender, and slimy. According to some, cooked octopus flesh tastes similar to chicken and pork because of its light and moist texture. It’s also great at absorbing flavors, which makes it quite a delicious, meaty option.
As with any seafood, you can expect a slightly briny taste from raw octopus. Moreover, on its own, octopus is mostly flavorless. But, when paired with pantry staples, such as sesame oil, it takes up a nutty-sweet flavor. Keep in mind; octopus meat can also seem slightly tough and chewy, so take note of this when preparing it.
On the other hand, squid, also known as calamari, has a smoother texture. However, it can be chewier and less tender than octopi. But, like octopus, it soaks up sauces and marinades well, which means you can cook it up in several ways! Furthermore, texture-wise, squid may feel rubbery to some. When overcooked, loses its taste.
In terms of taste, the mild flavor of squid resembles that of shrimp or lobster; it’s not fishy even in the slightest bit! Its flavor may vary from mild to strong depending on the ingredients and cooking techniques.
Are Octopus and Squid Taste Similar or Different
One similarity between octopus and squid is that they both have a very mild seafood flavor. Moreover, both have a firm and chewy flesh, although squid can be a lot more rubbery in its texture.
In addition, both cephalopods share a sweet, nutty flavor that goes well with almost any sauce or dipping! Since they’re quite versatile, you can have them grilled, fried, braised, steamed, stewed, or even raw!
Despite these similarities, the taste of octopus and squid is quite distinct. Octopus has the same subtle flavor as you would find in pork or chicken. It’s also juicier than squid flesh! Flavor-wise, octopi taste milder and sweeter. It’s also much tenderer than squid flesh in terms of texture. When grilled to perfection, octopus is crisp on the outside, but tender and succulent on the inside. In comparison, squid is best had boiled and later fried because of its tough and rubbery texture.
Besides the flesh, squid and octopus are also quite famous for their dark ink, which helps to add a subtle flavor and color to any dish. Octopus ink has a black color, whereas squid ink is dark-blue. While octopus ink is mainly bland, squid ink has a salty taste with an earthy flavor. It adds a saline taste and deep dark color to any food you add it to!
The taste of squid is determined by the flavor-enhancers and ingredients used. But, mainly it has a sweet and nutty flavor that is easy to work with. You may fry it to get crisp yet succulent flesh.
On the other hand, octopus is a favorite among seafood lovers, for its subtle flavors, versatility, and smooth texture. Well-cooked octopus melts in the mouth and has a tender flesh. It’s best served with rice, risotto, or pasta.
Compared to octopi, squid can be slightly chewy and rubbery. Nonetheless, both cephalopods are a delight when batter-fried!
However, it is worth noting that the by-product of squid, squid ink, is much more flavorsome than the neutral-tasting octopus ink. Squid ink has a briny taste that instantly adds a saline and earthy flavor to any dish!