Squid Ink Actually Tastes Better Than You Think

There's a small sac found between a squid's gills where it stores its ink, says Taste. Inside, you'll find a melanin-heavy liquid filled with s L-DOPA, dopamine, polysaccharides, and amino acids (via Eat Delights). This, according to Atlas Obscura, is a squid's defense mechanism. When it gets scared, the squid ejects it, and it forms a squid-like shape that distracts predators long enough for the squid to stay alive. Think of squid ink as an impromptu, secretive body double.

In the 19th century, we used to use squid ink to write with (via Boston). These days, you're likely to find squid ink on restaurant menus, serving as a key ingredient to Michelin-starred chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive's Arroz de Txipis, and Michelin-starred chef Teresa Buongiorno's squid ink ragu and cuttlefish sauce for example (via Michelin Guide and Great Italian Chefs). And while you might not have eaten in either of their restaurants, if you've ever chowed down on a hamburger in a black bun, you may have unknowingly sampled the culinary novelty.

This is what squid ink tastes like

It's "silky" raves Taste, with a saltiness similar to oysters, but, then again, its "distinct brininess" is "completely its own." Squid ink is "extraordinarily delicious," The New York Times assures us. Use it and you'll give your dishes "umami" and "indescribable complexity." 

Don't limit yourself to salty dishes. Atlas Obscura wrote about Devon James Roberts, a Utah-based chocolatier who incorporates squid ink into his vanilla gelato. He's not the first person on earth to do so. In fact, says Travel and Leisure, squid ink ice cream is a sought-after mainstay of Gangneung, South Korea's Jumunjin Fish Market. Sports Illustrated journalist, Mitch Goldich, tried it while covering the Olympics one year. It "tasted like salted caramel," he wrote, pleasantly surprised, "and I know you might be skeptical, but you just have to believe me." Sports Illustrated also caught food enthusiast Monika Lee taking a lick on camera. "It tastes more like chocolate than vanilla," she mused, "but I'm not sure how to explain it."