I am not the type of person that is easily addicted to things. I’ve tried smoking cigarettes and they just didn’t take. I can function without coffee in the morning, and although I may have been irresponsible with my vodka consumption in my 20’s, I’ve never had issues with going dry every now and again. What I can’t get out of my head are salt and pepper squid. I am addicted to them. Even after I am done eating them, I begin to think about the next time I am going to have them. This may sound dramatic, but I challenge anybody who has had salt and pepper squid from my two favorite places to say they feel otherwise.
There are two places that I have found that make my favorite salt and pepper squid: Spices 3 in Oakland, CA* and Tien Hong in Portland, OR. The most interesting thing however, when comparing their salt and pepper squid, is that they are each completely different from one another.
Tien Hong – Portland, OR
Tien Hong’s salt and pepper squid are small little tentacles. The best part about them is that they are cooked perfectly and have the perfect crunch and texture. They are fried to perfection and the squid are seasoned perfectly. I think what makes these salt and pepper squid unique is that they do not have the expected chewy texture, instead they are very easy to eat and quite addicting!
Spices3 – Oakland, CA
Spices 3 does salt and pepper squid a bit differently. Their squid comes in these checkered tubes that are fried and then seasoned. The great thing about them is that they are not chewy, and are very palatable. They are also incredibly well seasoned and have a nice – but not overpowering – spiciness too them. The place is called Spices for a reason!
Honorable Mention – Hunan Pearl, Lake Oswego, OR
Hunan Pearl did a pretty good job with their salt and pepper squid. They were done in a more traditional style. I liked the texture of the squid but think that the pieces could have been smaller. These squid pieces were really big, which made them slightly more chewy. Still, they were seasoned well and a great appetizer.
*Spices 3 is the Oakland, CA Spices location. The other Spices location is in San Francisco and they make their salt and pepper squid a little differently than the Oakland location.