San Nak Ji:
I have read more about cephalopod nervous systems in the last couple of years than most of the people of my acquaintance, and I'm still not sure about the morality of eating this dish -- which is to say, the tentacles of a humanely dispatched octopus, served chopped and still wiggling on a platter. The predominant school of thought states that the tentacles move purely by reflex, like beheaded chickens or the twitching frog legs many of us encountered in high school biology. Another theory, which begins to make sense when your next bite starts to crawl up your chopsticks, claims that the octopus brain is rather decentralized, and that the suckers adhering to the roof of your mouth are still very much alive. Imagine a dish so delicious that it occasionally outweighs pretty serious ethical concerns. That's san nak ji.
Masan: 2851 W. Olympic Blvd., Koreatown; (213) 388-3314.