As a small, mountainous peninsula, where open ocean was easier to come by than grazing land, Korea learned to delve further into the resources of the sea than we in the U.S. may be used to. It is therefore that they have made common dishes out of creatures the average American may consider strange or exotic, and a low-rent seafood vendor on the street corner may be as fascinating as an upscale aquarium exhibit. One of the most notable faces in the Korean food aisle is that of the octopus, a creature that most of us in the west have yet to accept as an entree.

Octopus and squid are sliced up and sautéed. Miniature octopus and squid are eaten whole as a side. School kids snack on dried up octopus legs. It’s a strange, chewy flavor, maybe difficult for most foreigners to palate, but the nutritional benefits make it a worthwhile taste to acquire.

Octopus and squid are a lean and low-calorie meat, delivering a heavy dose of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and taurine. It also features vitamin C, vitamin A, several B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. This means a stronger immune system and lower chances of heart disease, depression, and certain cancers.