A ramen eatery in Taipei recently started serving up noodles with a deep-sea creature that looks like it belongs in a science fiction movie.
Atop each bowl of noodles is a 14-legged isopod. Each “limited-edition” bowl at The Ramen Boy costs NT$1,480 (S$65) and is available only for the ramen joint’s regulars. Registrations and bookings are required.
The shop, located in Zhongshan district, posted pictures of the dish on Facebook this week, and said that preparing the isopod dish is simple: First, get rid of the viscera but keep the glands. Next, steam the isopod.
It added that the meat of this “dream ingredient” tastes like lobster and crab, while its yellow glands taste like crab roe.
The isopod is not used to brew the ramen broth, which is instead cooked with chicken bouillon, bonito flakes and other ingredients.
The Ramen Boy’s post also said the creatures usually live in the depths of the sea between about 170m and 2,140m, and are caught in waters surrounding the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, also known as Dongsha Islands, south-west of Kaohsiung City.
The post, which drew more than 9,000 comments and 7,000 shares, had some Facebook users reacting in disgust.
One netizen, Ching Hsuan Huang, wrote in Chinese: “Looks like a special project at a natural science museum.”
Another Facebook user, Ai Ting, wrote: “Looks like a big cockroach.”
Isopods are distant relatives of woodlice and they can reach 30cm in length.
They are carnivorous and eat the carcasses of marine animals, said Animal Planet Taiwan in a Facebook post on Monday. They also prey on slow-moving marine life such as sea cucumber, sea turtles and nematodes.