I recently bought frozen octopus that was caught and imported from Portugal because the local stores were sold out of the octopus from Spain. There was also a package of octopus imported from Vietnam but the seafood department employee said that wasn't as good. Does anyone know if there is a difference in taste or quality of the octopus meat depending on where it was caught? If so, how extreme is the difference and would the difference be apparent to the person eating it?

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    I looked into it some, I couldn't find anything that credibly compared quality of frozen octopus from different counties, however I did find sustainability issues. Vietnam, Mauritania and Morocco appear to have the worst sustainability record, Spain the best. South Korea is the largest importer of Vietnamese octopus, and SK does eat a lot of octopus, so I won't say that the quality isn't as good, but the sustainability issue alone would steer me away from Vietnamese octopus. safinacenter.org/documents/2014/06/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 21:07
  • Thank you for your input, you certainly cleared up a few things ive been pondering for a while now! Also thank you for providing the link, very helpful. @Jolenealaska Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 14:35
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    I would think that there'd be the water equivalent of terroir at the very least (temperature of the water, what the octopi had to eat, if they were stressed), and possibly issues with how quickly they are cleaned & frozen after catching. If nothing else, the speed at which they are frozen could affect the quality in terms of texture (is it prepped & frozen on the fishing vessel, or brought to the harbor to be processed? Is it frozen slowly (and large ice crystals may form) or quickly? But I have no idea how extreme the difference is, as I don't think I've ever had Vietnamese octopus.
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 2:43
  • Αn issue that potentially relates to sustainability is that -in Greek folklore at least- female octopus that's recently given birth is inedibly salty. I can't find a reference for this in anything other than Greek fishing forums so it may well be an urban legend but I have definitely encountered Asian-imported octopus in the UK that was salty beyond edibility. In general octopus is salty as it is so you should avoid seasoning it until the very end
    – Giorgos
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


actually seafood's country origin does make a very relevant difference. Why? ocean floor type, water tempearture, tradewinds, upwelling and feed availability. Best octopus comes from Spain and Portugal (actually portuguese octopus is the best) Viet, China, Indonesia or Mexican octopus live in hot water. Portuguese coast has a very mild water temp, from 10 C to 20 C and a lot of sun exposure that triggers phytoplankton blooms. I could expand on this as I am a professional fisherman. Now, any country can import any seafood from anywhere and then label it as "theirs" so one must know which species are native to a certain location. Sustainability is also very imnportant and both Portugal and Spain are EU members where sustainability is a very serious matter.

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    Also, genus and species of octopus will vary from region to region. Turns out octopus is an Order:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus ,so there's room for a lot of variation there. Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 16:43
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    So it's the same as beef and poultry: where the animal comes from and what they eat matters to the final product's flavor.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 9:18

Usually spanish and portuguese octopus is "Octopus vulgaris" and vietnamese octopus is "Eledone"

And yes, there are gastronomical differences. Eledone is smaller, with less muscle and tougher.

By the way, 80% of fresh octopus sold in Spain and Portugal (Octopus vulgaris) come from Morocco and Mauritania

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