When you are in Japan, you will be able to find different varieties of seafood in almost every small to large scale restaurant. Have you eaten enough tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp, scallop, mackerel, octopus and other common seafood in Japan, and are you looking for some more interesting options?
Japan is quite well-known for its whale meat (kujira), puffer fish (fugu), urchins and other rare meat and seafood, which is easy to find in Japan. However, a restaurant in Yokohama, Chinjuya, serves some dishes which you may have never even heard of! Here are three unusual but tasty dishes you can try in Chinjuya!
— 珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) November 12, 2014
An axolotl is a unique type of aquatic creature that looks like a lizard with legs and gills and is found largely in the lakes of Mexico. You might have come across these cuties in aquariums, and some people buy them as pets.
These animals belong to the mole salamander family and are not technically considered fish by the scientific community. Although endangered, these species are now being bred in artificial habitats and are being exported to Japan and other countries. Although consuming these aquatic creatures is not very common and maybe even frowned upon, some restaurants do offer them to their customers.
Chinjuya, an izakaya which is popular for its bizarre food, serves axolotl as ‘karaage’ (covered in flour and deep fried). People who have tried it say that it’s a little bit expensive but very delicious! Although axolotl may look scary when fried, these animals have been popularized in the Pokemon series as adorable ‘woopers’ which can absorb water. This is a dish definitely worth giving a try!
— 珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) September 3, 2014
The Hagfish (nuta unagi) is a deep water creature, similar in appearance to an eel, which produces thick mucus when attacked and can be found in the waters surrounding Korea and Japan. Not many of them are caught for eating, and few people consume them because of their parasitic look!
The unique quality about hagfish is that they don’t have jaws and there are no bones in their body except for the skull, making them an incredibly rare species. In Korea, people catch these fish for the purpose of extracting their slime which is actually used in food.
Chinjuya is offering customers hagfish for around 3000 yen per plate, which may seem rather expensive but is a really unique experience! Of a similar appearance, they also serve snakes found in coral reefs and other slimy creatures that you can only imagine until you see them!
— 珍獣屋 (@noge_chinjuya) August 9, 2017
Isopods are fascinating crustacean creatures which look similar to bugs, with creepy legs which you may not normally want to have on your dinner plate! They’re something you’d probably least expect at a restaurant, but not in Japan and Hawaii where they are perfectly normal to consume!
Chinjuya not only serves giant scary isopods but also beetles that go perfectly with beer! If you feel like skipping all the courses and going straight to the dessert, there is a wriggly worm pudding on offer too!
Chinjuya (sometimes spelled ‘Chinjuuya’), situated in the Naka ward of Yokohama, has even featured in the news for the bizarre selection of food on its menu. Apart from the edible axolotl, hagfish, isopods, and insects, you can also find meat from animals such as rabbits, crocodiles, camels and more. The name of the restaurant, Chinjuya, literally means ‘rare food’ in Japanese, so if unique cuisine is what you’re looking for, this is the perfect place for you!
Be prepared to shell out a lot of yen per plate for such rare food when you visit Chinjuya. If you have no problem trying out new things, then go ahead! This popular place can get busy, so do try to make a reservation via phone on their number which can be found on the Tabelog page below. Check out this incredible restaurant for an experience you won’t regret!