Sannakji – Live Octopus, a.k.a. “Korean Viagra”

Sannakji Live Octopus
Sannakji Live Octopus Dish

In Korea, many men eat different items in order to have more sexual vitality.  Different selections are touted as excellent choices for this desire, such as goat stew, deer antler whiskey, dog meat, red ginseng, the list is never ending.  However, none of these are quite as attention-grabbing as sannakji which is almost alive.  Sannakji is the tentacles of a baby octopus that are so fresh and raw that they are still squirming.  This is a popular food for those who go to bars, which is apparent from many Youtube videos.

The tactile sensations provided by Sannakji are unique for sure.  Nerve activity within the tentacles keeps them wriggling for a long time after they are severed from the head of the octopus.  They do not have much of a flavor, but are generally served with chili paste and sesame oil.  Then its bottoms up and the suckers fight you as you chew and swallow, attaching to various parts of your inner anatomy.

Rumor has it that this dish is so potent that they were fed to oxen that were overtired in order to invigorate them to go out to do more work.  Additionally, they are regularly fed to Korean bullfighters before they begin their match.

Believe it or not, Sannakji has proven to be a deadly dish according to the stories that talk about poor souls who choke on them while trying to swallow them down.  This dish is not often served in the warmer parts of the year because of the risk of bacteria in Nakji found in warm water.

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