What happens when you cross the taste of the sea with a crisp, golden crumb? Calamari. This Mediterranean appetiser is a firm favourite on all the best menus, and we're lucky enough to have it in abundance here in Singapore. But it's not just about battered squid.
While the likes of Greenwood Fish Market serve up their crisp, classic version, others are experimenting and creating a whole new world of flavours. Take Yaowarat seafood's steamed squid with Thai garlic and lime. Or Fish & Co's seafood spaghetti in a rich pesto sauce. So just what is calamari, and why are we so obsessed?
Dive into squid
Calamari is the Italian name for squid. It's often served as a starter but is equally as at home as a main course, and is a go-to for seafood lovers the world over.
It's prepared differently around the world, from lightly battered squid in the Mediterranean to dried snacks in Korea. In the 70s squid became super popular in America because marketers pushed it as a valuable source of protein. The flavour of fresh squid spoke for itself, and it's since spread across the globe.
Light, creamy and naturally sea-salted, any version of calamari will transport you from city bar to tropical beach in an instant. And its mild, fresh flavour means it can be paired with a huge variety of flavours.
It's all in the preparation
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Not as simple as your usual fish dish, the preparation of squid takes skill and precision. Nearly all of the squid can be used, from the main body – sliced into those signature rings – to the arms and tentacles, often fried to a crisp and generously salted.
Even squid ink can be put to good use, especially in Italian dishes where it's used to dye pasta or flavour rich sauces. The result? Striking dishes that are bold, black and eye-catching.
The best of the bunch
With all of this choice you'd be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Lucky for you we've narrowed it down to three of the best flavours out there.
For traditionalists, you can't go wrong with simple battered calamari. And Greenwood Fish Market is the place to go. Not only is their squid fresh and deliciously deep fried, but you can also get truffle fries on the side. A match made in heaven.
Flying the flag for the Mediterranean is Fish & Co. Their seafood spaghetti brings a taste of Italy to the heart of Singapore, pairing calamari, prawns and mussels together in a tangy red pesto sauce that's lip-smackingly good.
Or if it's choice you're after, Yaowarat Seafood has by the bowlful. Our favourite is the garlic butter squid – though we don't advise ordering it in for date night. But it doesn't end there – they have five different variations of squid, so give yourself plenty of time to try them all.
Tempted by a taste of the sea? Find these calamari dishes and more on Deliveroo.