The Food Was Still Moving On My Plate

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.

See warning at bottom: eat at your own risk!

Raw Lobster

Sea Snails

Live Abalone

Sashimi Salad

Hand Rolls

Sashimi Boat


Should I be worried that they only have a “B”?


Filed under Koreatown

7 Responses to The Food Was Still Moving On My Plate

  1. Sylvia

    Not to sound like a wimpie foodie animal rights activist (who is Korean) but that is sick and disgusting!! Sorry! Octopus are such amazing sensitive intelligent creatures. We once were at a Korean restaurant being served lobster sushi and guess who starts walking off the table without it’s better half. I scream to the waitress who looks in shock and then says “see it’s fresh; we make soup.” They say that you eat with your eyes and that looks really unappetizing.

    • ConsumingLA

      I think the fact that it’s somewhat disgusting or at least freaky is part of the appeal in this case because it’s a challenge. It was aleady dead so I have no problem eating it.

      • LOLLLLL I’m Korean and although a lot of people I know have eaten and loved sannakji, I don’t think I can do it! I normally try anything and everything…but something about the suction of it would make me crazy (getting goosebumps right now)!!!! That video was funny though, so freaky and yet, it makes me wonder how we Koreans have made it this far esp. in the food world…haha. 😛

    • Mona

      I agree with you. I also think there is no necessity of making a live being suffer. It is a selfish and uncaring person who would do this. I would NOT choose to be even acquaintances with such people. “Fresh” can also be freshly and humanely killed. That sauce must sting, also.

      • ConsumingLA

        There was no suffering during this video. As I state in the post, the octopus was actually already dead when the sauce was added and when we ate it.

  2. SKT

    Hi there,

    Was wondering what size order of seafood did you order and what was the cost (or cost per person)? Planning on getting a group of friends together here over Labor Day weekend.


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