The Octopus (from Greek 'eight-footed') is a Cephalopod of the order Octopoda that inhabits many diverse regions of the ocean, especially coral reefs. The term may also refer to only those creatures in the genus Octopus. In the larger sense, there are around 300 recognized octopus species, which is over one-third of the total number of known Cephalopod species.
Many species of octopus are eaten as food by human cultures around the world. The arms and sometimes other parts of the body are prepared in various ways, often depending on the species being eaten.
Octopus is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, including sushi, takoyaki, and Akashiyaki. Some small species are sometimes eaten alive as a novelty and health food (mostly in South Korea). Octopus is also a common food in Mediterranean cuisine. In Galicia, polbo á feira (fair style octopus) is a local delicacy. Restaurants which specialize or serve this dish are known as Pulperías.
Octopuses have an enjoyable mild flavour, with a texture similar to that of squids, though more dense. Dried octopus is popular in some parts of Asia.
Cook octopus quickly over a high heat or simmer slowly. Marinating will help to tenderise the flesh and strengthen the flavour for enhanced results when cooking quickly.
According to the USDA Nutrient Database (2007), cooked octopus contains approximately 139 calories per three ounce portion, and is a source of vitamin B3, B12, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.