Here’s a video of the wriggling “live” octopus I consumed in Koreatown. The octopus is not giving up without a fight, its little suction cups clamping on to the plate, making it difficult to pickup with my chopsticks. Sesame oil has been poured over its cut pieces and this appears to anger the octopus and causes it to squirm even more. Finally getting a piece into my mouth, I find it chewy but fresh — extremely fresh. I think to myself: I am a culinary thrill seeker, a badass food adventurer!
This “live” octopus dish (aka Sannakji) was the highlight of a live seafood dinner I enjoyed with eight intrepid friends at Chung Hae Jin a couple weeks ago. The dinner also featured live abalone, sea snails and a lot of raw fish. There were a couple cooked dishes including Hong Hap Tang (mussel soup) and tempura, and of course a lot of soju (which is similar to vodka) and Korean beer. Aside from the octopus, my favorite dish was raw lobster, which tasted very similar to the raw sweet shrimp they have at higher end sushi bars. But, sad to say, on the whole, I didn’t love the food at Chung Hae Jin. I’ve had much better sashimi elsewhere and despite my love of Korean food and anything unusual, I didn’t care for many of the dishes. Also, the service was exceptionally bad. Nevertheless, it was a fun dinner because of the exotic nature of the meal and the wiggling, wriggling food.
Chung Hae Jin is located at 3470 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles (in Koreatown).
NOTE TO MY READERS CONCERNED ABOUT THE OCTOPUS: Although widely referred to as “live” octopus, it was actually dead when served to us. It moves because its nerves remain active after death.