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Fried Calamari: A Savory Seafood Appetizer with a Unique Flavor

Fried Calamari: A Savory Seafood Appetizer with a Unique Flavor

Maybe you have heard some phrase about being a new food tryer. But that’s easier said than done if you’ve zero clue what to expect.

Squid vs. Calamari – What’s the difference?

Squid Calamari

The first thing to get out of the way is the difference between squid meat and calamari. And there isn’t really one.

  • Squid is the sea creature itself. 
  • When you cut the squid into rings and cook them, it turns into what we call calamari. 

What does fried calamari taste like?

Calamari is one of those foods for many people. Known for its sweet, borderline nutty flavor, the meat is firm and white. And, when you fry squid, expect it to be a little chewy. It should never be rubbery (unlike, say, conch or scallops).

Does fried squid taste fishy?

One of the common misconceptions about calamari is that it must have a fish taste because it is seafood. Instead, it often shocks new tasters that are mild and a little sweet.

Does fried squid taste good?

Everyone’s tastebuds work a little differently. You may like it, and you may not. Also, the taste is different depending on how it is cooked. A lot of people prefer it fried as a personal preference.

Why is fried calamari squid so good?

Fried calamari meat is tasty, and the texture is unique. But, it is a good choice for more than just taste, because it is chock-full of vitamins and minerals.

  • Vitamin B-12
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Omega-3s fatty acids 
  • High levels of protein

The combination of essential nutrients helps with the health of blood cells, bone density, immune system, and overall performance.

How would you describe fried calamari?  

You would start describing fried calamari by explaining that it is a firm, sweet white meat with a little bit of a nut flavor. 

The fried part is another layer to a delicious description. Fried calamari has a crunchy out layer while not losing its tender texture. When you cook it this way, it heightens the flavor of the squid. 

Where does calamari come from?

It is important to know where our food comes from, and for new food tryers, it is often essential to even consider a taste test.

Squid are found in shallow seawater (like clams and crabs), as well as the endless depths of the ocean. Fishers all over the world use nets and traps to capture the squishy creatures.

And, no worries about overfishing. The squid population is enormous and continues to increase worldwide.

What are other ways you can cook calamari?

Dietary needs vary from person to person, and so do taste buds. Fried foods aren’t for everyone. But, there are other ways to cook a squid that is just as delicious.


Searing squid is the fastest way to cook it and takes five minutes tops. You capture its natural sweetness and ensure its tenderness when you a sear it over volcanic heat. 


Blanching squid in boiling water for sixty seconds and then shocking it with a cold bath is typical for specific recipes such as soups, sauces, and salads. 


Braising calamari takes a little longer than any other method, but it comes highly recommended. You will let it simmer for up to an hour in your favorite herbs and seasonings.


You probably know you can just about grill anything, and for a lot of people, that is the taste they love the most. Calamari grills up well and doesn’t lose its tenderness when cooked.

Can I eat calamari raw?

You can eat calamari raw, but it must be super fresh and prepared appropriately. And calamari is a common component of sushi and sashimi. 

Where do I buy squid?

Most seafood markets keep calamari in stock. If you live on a coast, you may be lucky enough to have a fresh seafood market. 

One thing that is important to ask when you’re buying calamari is where it originated. Some countries, such as India, Thailand, and China, do not regulate fishing practices and have minimal oversight.

How many types of calamari is out here?

You will find there are nearly 300 types of squid. They vastly vary in size and live in seas and oceans around the world.

Most Common Types of Squid

  • European squid
  • Argentine shortfin squid
  • Jumbo flying squid
  • Japanese flying squid

Calamari vs. Octopus – Are they the same thing?

The quickest answer is that they are entirely different things. People confuse the two all of the time.

  • Octopus usually is far more tender than calamari.
  • Some people say that octopus tastes like chicken, and others say pork.

What does it mean when my calamari is purple?

When you cook squid, it should be white and firm in texture. The fresh or thawed variety will be moist, glistening, and ivory in color. 

Pink, yellow, or purple calamari is an indication of deterioration, and you should avoid 

What You Need to Know About Calamari and Shellfish Allergies

You have two primary types of shellfish – crustacea, and mollusks. 

  1. Crustacea include things like shrimp, crab, and crawfish
  2. Squid falls into the category of mollusks, which includes octopus, clams, and mussels.

While you might be allergic to crustacea, you might not be to mollusks, and vice versa.

But, if there is any doubt about its safety, avoid calamari. Allergic reactions are dangerous and can be fatal.

What do I do if I have an allergic reaction to calamari?

Allergies have a way of showing themselves when we least expect it, and they are scary. 

For mild reactions, an over-the-counter antihistamine will reduce the signs and symptoms of the allergic reaction to shellfish. You may experience a rash or itchiness that lasts anywhere from a day to a few days. If the symptoms last longer than a week, contact your physician.

A severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, will require emergency medical attention. It likely will need a shot of epinephrine or adrenaline.

If you have any known allergy that leads to this reaction, have a conversation with your doctor about carrying some emergency epinephrine.