Those right there my friend are fried armored isopods, and they’re just waiting for you to munch down on those crunchy exoskeletons. Heston Blumenthal get on over here, ‘cos this might be just what you need to get your next Michelin star.
Their Japanese name is ogusokumushi, which literally means ‘giant armored bug’, and is more interesting than their fancy Latin name of bathynomus doederleini. Otherwise you might know them as a kind of giant isopod that lurks the cold depths of the ocean being kinda cool but also kinda creepy.
In Yokohama City’s Chinatown there’s an aquarium aimed at elementary schoolers and kindergarten kids. It’s the kind of place you’d expect to find cute and strange sea creatures with an educational focus. On March 29 and 30 they’ll be holding an event called the ‘Third Deep Sea Festival’, which has turned out to have quite a shocking attraction in store. They’ll be offering the chance to get your teeth into one of these marine crustaceans, quite literally. As in eat them. They’re fried, but they still look very much like a giant armor-plated woodlouse hanging out on your plate. Who wouldn’t want a go at that?! And there are only 100 of the delicacies on offer, so get on down there ASAP!
If you can crack through that shell there might be something incredible awaiting you, although someone on the aquarium’s official Twitter account posted the following rather unencouraging tweet:
Well I can’t say it’s really delicious, but since it’s a crustacean it tastes kinda like prawn or crab. It’s not bad! It was better than I expected lol
Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t an aquarium supposed to be promoting conservation rather than, you know, eating their exhibits?
Anyway, check out a video of the critters when they’re actually alive – they’re surprisingly cute. As long as they’re not my potential dinner.