Get kraken Melbourne; I’m not squidding! Footscray has a new street food squid restaurant called Ika8!
The bolthole store is squished between ChaTime and Footscray Market, across the road from Footscray train station at Irving Street.
Ika8 is the brainchild of a group of young second-generation Asian immigrants with roots in Melbourne’s west. Their mission is to bring their families’ culinary traditions to a new audience. It’s definitely a family affair – I spy one of the owner’s mum on the pans!
And why squid? You’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty niche dish.
Well, in Asia, squid is a protein that’s as common as chicken, beef or pork, whereas that’s not really the case in Australia. Ika8 is aiming to change that by introducing some funky new flavours to the humble squid.
While the restaurant is small (catering predominantly to a takeaway or quick eats crowd), the squid that they serve is GIANT!
Yes, giant squid on the stick is their signature dish. You can get it deep-fried or grilled with a variety of different sauces and seasoning ($9.99). It’s crunchy, sticky, saucy goodness and the head chef and part owner Eddie recommends his favourite to me, the Thai Tom Yum.
My hot tip from the snacks are the cuttlefish balls on a skewer ($5). They are squishy without being chewy and come dressed in a tom yum sriracha chilli sauce or sticky garlic and ginger soy glaze, both of which I enjoy.
For a complete meal you can get a $12 bowl with grilled or fried squid and side of chips, rice or salad (or a combination of both). A handy meal on your way to/from the station I reckon. Note that the The Spicy Korean is pretty darn hot – if you need to extinguish the heat maybe try a milk bubble tea from ChaTime, just a sliding door away??
Ika8 is a really novel addition to Footscray’s food scene. It’s an unusual product that hasn’t been done in Melbourne before and I reckon it deserves all of our support for its pure chutzpah!
Ika8 24 Irving St Footscray VIC 3011