Dried shredded squid is a dried, shredded, seasoned, seafood product, made from squid or cuttlefish, commonly found in coastal Asian countries, Russia, and Hawaii. The snack is also referred to as dried shredded cuttlefish.
Historically, squid is common in Pacific coastal regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. After the packaged form began shipping to English-speaking regions, the Japanese word surume and yóu yú sī in Chinese for this form of seafood was translated as "dried shredded squid" and imprinted on packages. The snack was popularized, sold, and consumed regularly in Hong Kong during the 1970s. Shredded squid began being sold in Macau as an addition to their almond biscuit. In China, it is usually considered to be a light snack, sold in bags in many department stores in major cities. In Japan, dried shredded squid is popularly served as an otsumami (snack consumed while drinking alcohol). In Korean cuisine, dried shredded squid is eaten as anju (food to eat while drinking) and as banchan (small side dishes), such as the dish ojingeochae bokkeum, which is made by stir-frying dried shredded squid seasoned with a mixture of gochujang (chili pepper paste), garlics, and mullyeot (corn syrup-like condiment). In Singapore, it was also popular amongst the older generation when it was sold in a Mama shop. It was marketed as the Chewing gum of the Orientals by the food manufacturing company Ken Ken, during the chewing gum ban in Singapore.
Northern Pacific squid is separated into different parts and skinned; cooked at 65–80 °C for 3–5 minutes; and cooled, grated and seasoned at a temperature below 20 °C for more than four hours. Sugar, salt, sorbitol, sweeteners, organic acid, and MSG are typical additives. They are then dried at 40–45 °C for 12–20 hours until it reaches a moisture level of 40%. It is then aged in a cold room for two weeks or longer and dried at a higher temperature of 110–120 °C for 3–5 minutes. It is then machine shredded and seasoned for a second time and dried again to a reduced moisture level of 25–27%. At this phase, the color is yellow or brownish. The amino acids on the squid are revealed by the increase in brown color over prolonged storage time. Vacuum packaging or nitrogen-filled packaging also increase browning. Consumers generally do not want excessive browning.
The most common distribution method in today's Asian countries is the prepackaged format. The bags are usually sealed airtight to keep the squid chewy and tough. Depending on the company doing the packaging or preparation, each brand usually has its own ratio of MSG added.