The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat squid. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What squid etiquette is

Squid etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat squid. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve squid to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat squid at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat squid

What you should know about squid

Squids are marine animals that belong to the family Teuthida, which includes around 300 species. They are cephalopods, which means they have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, and a set of arms and/or tentacles. Squids are known for their long, cylindrical bodies and tentacles that they use to capture prey.

Squids come in various sizes and shapes, but typically have a torpedo-shaped body with a long pair of tentacles and eight arms. They are usually white, pink, or purple in color, with a slimy texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor that is often compared to shellfish.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat squid

1) How to store squid

The ideal temperature to store squid is between 30° and 34° (-1°C and 1°C ) in the fridge or freezer. If you are storing squid in the pantry, keep it in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, and consume it within 24 hours. Squid can last up to two days in the fridge, up to three to four months in the freezer, and up to a year if frozen and vacuum-sealed.

Sliced or cooked squid should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and can last up to three days.

2) How to clean squid

To clean squid, remove the head, internal organs, and transparent spine. Rinse the squid under cold water, remove the skin and wings, and cut off the tentacles. There are some risks when cleaning squid, such as cutting yourself with a sharp beak, so it is recommended to use a sharp knife and handle the squid with care.

Signs that squid has turned bad include a strong fishy odor, a slimy texture, and a grayish color.

3) How to prepare & cook squid

Squid can be eaten raw or cooked. To prepare squid for cooking, it should be cleaned and either grilled, fried, sautéed, or boiled. Utensils that are commonly used to prepare squid include knives, cutting boards, frying pans, and grills. Some common ways to cook squid include calamari, stir-fry, and squid ink pasta.

Squid is commonly used in dishes such as calamari, sushi, and paella. It can also be used in salads and sandwiches.

Squid is not appropriate for guests that are on a vegan diet, but is suitable for those on a keto or paleo diet. There are no common allergies or food intolerances to squid, but it is important to check with guests beforehand. There are no religious dietary restrictions that forbid eating squid.

4) How to serve & present squid

Squid is appropriate for both formal and informal meals and can be served as a side dish, main course, appetizer, or snack.

It is best to serve squid warm. You can present it on a plate or in a bowl. Serving tools should include forks and knives for cutting, as well as chopsticks if serving sushi or stir-frying.

The ideal seasonings for squid are lemon, garlic, and parsley.

5) Food and wine to pair squid with

Squid pairs well with vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers. It also pairs well with fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. Vegetables and fruits to avoid pairing with squid include those that are too sweet, such as bananas and mangoes.

Squid does not typically go well with cheese and dairy. It pairs well with fish such as salmon and tuna. It does not typically pair well with meat.

Squid can pair with a variety of wines and beverages. White wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay are good choices as they complement the mild flavor of the squid. Red wines such as Pinot Noir and Beaujolais can also work well with squid, especially when it is cooked with richer and more flavorful ingredients. It is generally best to avoid heavy and full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz as they can overpower the delicate taste of squid. Rosé wine, sparkling wine, and light beer can also pair well with the squid. When it comes to spirits, gin, and vodka can work well in cocktails that include squid ink.

6) How to eat squid

The most polite etiquette for eating squid is to use a fork and knife, especially for eating a whole squid. It is not polite to eat squid with your fingers as it is messy and can be impolite in formal settings. When eating whole squid, the head, tentacles, and body are all edible. However, the beak, ink sac, and internal organs should be removed before eating.

Squid etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common squid etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Serving squid that has not been properly cleaned.
  • 6/10. Overcooking squid, as it can result in a rubbery texture.

Additional information for properly serving squid

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Squid contains approximately 78 calories per 3.5 oz (100 grams) serving. A single squid usually weighs around 2-3 oz, so it would contain approximately 55-83 calories per squid depending on its size.

How to buy the best squid

A crucial factor in squid etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Squid is available all year round, but the best season to buy it varies depending on the location. In the Northern Hemisphere, squid season typically runs from spring to autumn. In the Southern Hemisphere, squid season usually runs from autumn to winter.

Choose the best

Squid can be found in various forms in commerce, including fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. Fresh squid can usually be found at fish markets and some grocery stores, while frozen and canned squid can be found at most grocery stores. Dried squid is commonly found in Asian markets.

The most popular varieties of squid in commerce include the California market squid (also known as Loligo opalescens) and the European squid (also known as Loligo vulgaris). Both varieties are prized for their tender flesh and mild flavor.

To buy the best squid, look for specimens that have firm, glossy skin with a bright and consistent color. The flesh should feel firm and not slimy or mushy. It is also important to ensure that the squid has been properly cleaned and does not have any visible grit or sand.

Alternatives to squid

Some common alternatives to squid include octopus, cuttlefish, and calamari. Octopus has a similar texture and flavor to squid but is often more expensive. Cuttlefish has a slightly sweeter and milder flavor than squid but can be more difficult to find. Calamari is a type of squid that is often used interchangeably with regular squid in recipes.