It’s no secret that there are a lot of unusual food choices available in Japan–some of which have upset quite a few people. There’s a good chance that this offering by a Yokohama restaurant will be no different and will likely divide people between the “gotta have some” and the “WTF?!” crowd. In addition to offering crocodile, ostrich, and camel meat, Chinjuya in Yokohama also provides customers with the opportunity to munch on fried axolotl grown in captivity.
You can even order giant isopods!
Axolotls, also called wooper looper in Japan, are perhaps best known on the internet for having strangely adorable faces–almost cartoon-like–though they’re usage as food in Japan isn’t exactly new. While axolotls are endangered in Mexico (due to their disappearing habitat), they’re also apparently surprisingly easy to breed in captivity–as the fried axolotls in the photo below were.
食用ウーパールーパー大量入荷！薬を一切使わず育てられたウーパールーパーは安心、安全に食べる事が出来ます！ そんなウーパールーパーが食べられるのは横浜珍獣屋！丸ごと１本揚げで食べられます！#珍獣屋 http://t.co/9QUma3HvY4—
珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) November 12, 2014
“We just got a huge shipment of edible wooper looper! No antibiotics or drugs were used in raising them, so you can eat them safely without worry. And the place you can eat them is at Chinjuya in Yokohama! Come on down and eat one of these fried whole on a stick!”
While we guess all-organic is probably a selling point for some, the axolotls’ adorable faces are probably a factor that needs to be addressed if Chinjuya wants to boost sales. There’s even been criticism of the restaurant online by Chinese Internet users calling the practice gross–though some have also said they wanted to try a fried axolotl.
However, it looks like the supply of axolotls isn’t always consistent–one tweet by the restaurant in April read:
珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) June 24, 2014
“The edible wooper looper cultivation was done…but we’ve restarted it! You can get wooper looper at Chinjuya in Yokohama once again! However, they’re only for customers who have made reservations. Right now, the only place you can edible wooper looper is at Chinjuya!”
Well, we suppose “axolotol farmer” would be an interesting entry on anyone’s résumé–though it probably won’t help you get a job in banking…
By now you’re probably wondering just what kind of place Chinjuya is. The Yokohama restaurant is actually a “rare animal restaurant” (珍獣 chinju means “rare animal”) and serves everything from ostrich to crocodile to “giant rabbits.” They even offer giant isopods, like the ones pictured below.
大量入荷！！ ウーパールーパー食べてみたいひと〜！ オオグソクムシ食べてみたいひと〜！ 横浜珍獣屋で食べれます！ この2種類が1つの店で食べれるのは日本で横浜珍獣屋だけ！#珍獣屋 http://t.co/Mvx657iNHW—
珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) November 06, 2014
If you’re up for trying a fried axolotl, you can head down to the restaurant, but be sure to stop by the ATM first. One of the cute little guys costs 1,280 yen (about US$10.80) and we kind of suspect that a single axolotl isn’t filling. If you’re wondering what they taste like, one website described the taste as similar to white fish meat–which makes us wonder why they don’t just serve white fish meat instead…
▼Well, they did have piranhas available earlier this year…
珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) September 11, 2014
▼And hagfish was available for 2,980 yen (about $25) per person in September.
珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) September 03, 2014
Well, we doubt many people are going to complain about Chinjuya offering hagfish…but we’d be surprised if the restaurant saw brisk sales in September. Though we suppose these tweets might be great for anyone trying to maintain a diet.
▼The restaurant has surprisingly normal interior at least.
▼And in case you’ve ever wondered what camel meat looks like…
As you might expect with a restaurant serving unusual foods, the menu isn’t exactly consistent, so you’ll want to call ahead to make sure whatever rare animal you want to eat is available before heading to Yokohama. And if you can’t find anyone to go with you, they also offer a menu of regular food such as salad, pilchard, sausage, and squid.