Here we have a just under 1.0 oz (thank God) of dried Cuttlefish. So what is Cuttlefish you ask? Me too… “Cuttlefish are marine animals of the order Sepiida. They belong to the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squid, octopodes, and nautiluses. Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell, the cuttlebone. Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but molluscs.” (Wikipedia) OK fine, I like Calamari so this should be delicious, right?
The first impression you have when you open your bag of Cuttlefish is one of wet cardboard… the kind that’s been in an alley and maybe a cat or two have visited in their nightly rounds. After you get past the cardboard smell there is an ever so slight hit of fish… or maybe cat food… you know the kind you would feed to a cat you don’t really like because they messed up your cardboard.
Reach into the bag and you will find this Cuttlefish has its own plastic tray. Probably because you would not want this stuff to touch any plate you would ever want to use again. Slide out the tray and you are greeted a pile of white and dirty pink dry meat with traces of dark grey mixed in. When you turn over the pieces you discover the grey is skin (I hope). The pieces are about 3/4 wide strips 4-5″ in length. As you look at your tray of Cuttlefish it seems that 1oz of this stuff looks like a lot of Cuttlefish.
So when you finally get the nerve to pop a piece in your mouth the first thing you notice is your mouth filling with saliva. You know they way it does just before you are going to vomit. If you will yourself past spitting-it-out or spitting-it-up you will pick up a hint of well… fish-like taste. It’s a subtle fish flavor and is not overwhelming. If anchovies on a Cesar Salad or Pizza is a 10 fish taste (fishy, salty) the Cuttlefish is a 3. Not too bad right? Not really. To me its like eating fishy cardboard.
But like anything else, as you continue to chew you will acclimate to the different taste and can begin to taste, if not appreciate, the complexity of the flavor. The big payoff is you get more of a squid-like favor. The ingredients on the bag tell us what’s in this stuff: Squid (Wild/Japan) and Salt. Squid… hold on, is this actually Cuttlefish or is this another one of those Scallops punched out of Shark fins situations? Either way not so good.
Scoring-wise for Flavor I’m going to give it a 1. Its not a flavor I prefer and I love fish and seafood. When I eat Sushi I order Mackerel (that’s basically bait) and Salmon Skin (that’s basically the stuff they throw away). The Cuttlefish just doesn’t taste good to me. On the upside as you chew, the flavor stays with you the whole time and after you swallow subtle hints of cardboard linger on your palate. The chew its actually a quite respectable, for that I give it a 4. It requires digging your teeth in but as you chew it begins to break down and release its flavors. Each piece is good for a minute or two of chewing before the meat fully breaks down. Another upside is there is no fat or tough pieces, just lots of Cuttlefish pleasure to endure. The salt comes in at 360 gr per ounce putting it right in the middle of the sodium scale with other Jerkys. There is no heat so its a 0 on the heat scale. I thought maybe this would taste better with Tabasco. I tried it, don’t bother once the wonderful Tabasco flavor goes away you are left with a mouthful of Cuttlefish. Finally, the value comes in at a 2 as a single ounce of this treat is sold at $2.99. I really wanted to give it more points for value because it seems like a LOT of Cuttlefish.
Overall Cuttlefish Jerky scores a 2.5. Maybe not as bad as you would expect, but scores can be deceiving after all actual cardboard would get a 4 for chew.
If you need a bag of this for yourself, this Dried Cuttlefish is distributed by T-West of Gardena, CA. If you need privacy or you hate sharing your jerky, open a bag of delicious Cuttlefish and you will be all alone.