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Eight legs, no fears

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-24 07:18

Eight legs, no fears

Grilled octopus at Migas in Beijing. Spanish kitchens offer their flavorful treats to the seafood.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chefs around China tell Mike Peters that tasty octopus is all in the cooking.

Do you find octopus to be a little scary, especially on your dinner plate?

Spanish kitchens have a tradition that reverses any sense of fear. There, it's the octopus who is afraid.

"We buy the octopus fresh and when it arrives, you have to beat it to make the meat softer, to break the fibers, to make sure when you cook it it's not too hard," says Maria Dominguez at Migas.

At that point, tradition - or superstition - steps in.

"Then, we 'scare him' three times. This means when it is boiling in the pot, you take it out and put it back three times, carefully."

Recently, I asked a few chefs who like to serve the eight-legged sea creature whether people love octopus or hate it (like the fragrant fruit durian), or whether the right preparation could win over the naysayers.

"People usually like it," one Chinese-American chef tells me. "No one hates it."

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