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Fully vs. Traditionally Cleaned Calamari

When you’re talking about squid, there are two basic categories.

  • ‘Round’ or ‘Dirty’ is the whole squid.
  • ‘Cleaned’ calamari has the the head, guts, skin, and quill (the plastic-like backbone) removed.

There are two standard types of cleaning: Fully Cleaned and Traditionally Cleaned.

Traditionally Cleaned Squid

“Traditionally cleaned” squid means that though the head, guts, and quill are all removed from the squid, that the “wings” (or “fins”) of the squid have not been removed.
Here is an image of a traditionally cleaned squid (see the wings attached at the point of the tube on the left-hand side):

Fully Cleaned Squid

“Fully cleaned” squid means that the squid’s wings have been removed in addition to its head, guts, and quill. Once a squid is fully cleaned, all that remains are its tentacles and its tube (or calamari rings that the tube has been cut into).
Here is an image of a fully cleaned squid (see that the wings have been removed from the tube on the right-hand side).

While wings are edible, chefs are not able to make calamari rings from the wings.

The wings are generally about 12-15% of the yield of traditionally cleaned squid. That means that if you’re purchasing traditionally cleaned calamari with the intention of making rings, part of what you’re paying for is unusable product.

A chef who is buying a traditionally cleaned product but isn’t using the wings can get a higher yield by switching to one of The Town Dock’s fully cleaned products, including Fully Cleaned Calamari, Bombay Coast Calamari, Premium Domestic Calamari, or Rhode Island Calamari.

For more information, or assistance choosing the right calamari for your unique operation, give us a call at 401-789-2200 or email

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