Grilled cuttlefish is not really Nyonya Food, but it certainly was one of my favorite snacks or “junk” food growing up. My grandmother was a huge fan of cuttlefish; in her kitchen, there was always charcoal fire in the traditional clay burner so she could grill cuttlefish on demand. As her beloved and youngest grand daughter, I got to share her loot. (My other favorite childhood junk food is grilled satay jellyfish.)
If you have been to Asia, you might have run into mobile vendors who sell various kinds of street food, one of them is grilled cuttlefish over charcoal fire. In Penang, you can find grilled cuttlefish stalls in Gurney Drive and the night hawker center at Esplanade. In Thailand and Vietnam, where seafood is also an important part of local diets, you can find a lot of vendors selling grilled cuttlefish along the beach towns and markets.
Grilled cuttlefish is basically made of dried cuttlefish that was flattened to thin slices and seasoned with spices, sugar, and salt. Serving it hot off the grill and dipping it with my favorite chili sauce is a sinfully good indulgence. In the US, I could get dried cuttlefish easily from Asian stores–look for brands from Taiwan or Japan, you can’t go wrong with them. Heat up your stove on low heat and then lay a piece of cuttlefish over a wire grill rack. Grill on both sides until it turns crispy. You will know it because you can’t miss the mouthwatering aroma!
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