Up north in Hakodate, Hokkaido, there is a restaurant chain called Lucky Pierrot, known around the country for their uniquely large hamburger and fried squid dishes. It’s absolutely delicious and a popular draw for tourists. However, this was not why our man Kuzo was sent to the town.

His mission was to track down a restaurant serving “Active Dancing Squid Rice Bowl” (Katsu Ika Odori-don). Videos of this dish have stirred up controversy around the world by using what appears to be a living squid atop a bowl of rice and other ingredients.

Apparently, when soy sauce is poured over the squid it begins to move and “dance,” much to the delight or horror of those watching.

■ Ikkatei Tabiji
Kuzo headed over to the Donburi Alley complex of Hakodate where several restaurants sell bowls of rice topped with a wide range of meats and vegetables in their own unique arrangements.

However, it was perhaps the most unique arrangement that Kuzo needed to find. He entered a small restaurant called Ikkatei Tabiji which had a large poster showing a bowl of Active Dancing Squid Rice Bowl next to the sign. He ordered a bowl for 1,890 yen (US$19).


■ Fast Service
After making his order the chef went back to a tank and pulled out a live squid with his bare hands. Four or five minutes later the order arrived, the squid with its mantle cut off and tentacles spread out sat on the bowl along with a generous portion of salmon eggs.

The server told Kuzo to “go ahead and pour some soy sauce on the squid.” Kuzo complied and sure enough the squid came to life and began moving around on top of the food.

*** WARNING: Some readers may find the following video upsetting.***

■ Conflicted
Kuzo could understand that some types of people might be entertained by this show of a squid dancing across his bowl. However, he was left feeling sad about the whole ordeal.

“Was the soy sauce hurting it!?” he thought convinced he couldn’t eat the squirming cephalopod. He was hoping a member of staff would read his grimace and know what to do. However, when it didn’t happen Kuzo finally broke down and asked someone to cut it up for him.

■ Still dancing
The bowl was returned with the diced up pieces of squid inside. To Kuzo’s surprise the tiny pieces of meat were still quivering. He took some comfort in this as it could have meant the squid was also already dead the first time he saw it. I could have just been some nerves twitching automatically.

Now able to eat the seafood and rice bowl, Kuzo wasn’t overly thrilled. Squid is generally some tough meat, but this squid was very hard. It was like biting through pure cartilage. Some people go for this kind of texture but he prefers his squid more tender.

On the way back to his hotel, Kuzo’s taxi driver told him that mostly older tourists and foreign students on field trips want to try Active Dancing Squid Rice Bowls. “Local folks don’t go to Donburi Alley like the tourists, I think.” the driver said. “I mean, it’s fine if you’re into that stuff. Most people who live around here just go to the supermarket.”

Shop information
Ikkatei Tabiji
8-20 Donburi Yokocho-nai, Wakamatsu, Hakodate, Hokkaido
April-October 5am-3pm / November-March 6am-2pm
Open seven days a week

Original report by Kuzo
Photos and video: RocketNews24





This is “Active Dancing Squid Rice Bowl”


It moves when soy sauce is poured onto it.

Sure enough the squid moved… a lot!

▼ It almost moved out of the bowl.

Eventually it stops reacting to the soy sauce.

Afterward, the shop staff cut up the squid for our reporter

[ Read in Japanese ]

日本, 北海道函館市若松町8−20