12/22/08

Sannakchi

Having always wanted to try a whole live octopus (nakchi), when my students offered to take me out for live octopus as a Christmas present I jumped at the chance.

No sooner had we sat down did a bowl of four live octopus’s come out of the kitchen. My student Joy reached into the bowl and did this:


Now it was my turn… First I had to wrestle the octopus from the bowl. Then as it squirmed and attached its tentacles to my hand and arm, I had to force its head down into a chopstick; which does not kill the octopus. All seemed to be going well until I tried to wrap the octopus around the chopstick. No matter how hard I tried the octopus kept finding a way off of the chopstick; making it impossible to eat.

The situation soon deteriorated to the point where the octopus was no longer even on the chopstick. With no other choice and my students looking on, I began to bit into the flaying octopus, ripping off a tentacle here and a tentacle there.

About this time the chief came in and with a rather shocked and amused look on her face, took the octopus away from me. She then reached in the bowl, took out a fresh octopus, and wrapped it around the chopstick for me. With the live octopus ready she handed it to me and motioned for me to put the entire writhing mass in my mouth. (Never mind that the octopus with tentacles was nearly a foot long and I was not sure how I was

going to fit the entire thing in my mouth. Yet somehow I got the whole octopus into my mouth and off of the chopstick.

Now came the hard part. As the octopus tried desperately to escape my mouth via my lips and windpipe, I knew it was either he or I. With no other choice I savagely and viciously began to chew my squirming foe to pieces. After three minutes of chewing, my students told me the octopus was safe to swallow. So with one giant gulp I tried to swallow the octopus. Unfortunately the octopus was wrapped up in my teeth. Visions of a stupid, all be it amusing death, flashed before my eyes just before my gag reflex kicked in and brought the entire pulsating mass back into my mouth.
Never one to give up, I did not spit out the octopus. Rather I delicately untangled the remaining resistance from my teeth and then with one great gulp sent the entire squirming cephalopod to my gut bellow.