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?
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.
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