From favourite childhood pet to fried delicacy, it appears the fortunes of the Axolotl (the neotenous larval form of the Mexican Salamander) have fallen on hard times…
A blind tasting of one of the creatures reveals how delicious it is (they are not uncommonly eaten in their native country of Mexico), and an interview with a commercial Axolotl fishery in Japan reveals that (culinary) supply and demand are brisk:
The boom is particularly painful for some, as the creatures became popular childhood pets in one of Japan’s short-lived marketing booms in the 1980s, after a TV commercial for the still extant “UFO” brand of yakisoba ramen featured one of the animals; the name was soon popularly altered from “Axolotl” to ウーパールーパー / Uupaaruupaa after the advert:
It seems they were a victim of their own popularity, as once the boom subsided one of the very companies supplying them had a surplus and opted to switch its marketing efforts to culinary usage; now they are considering exports to China and Korea.
However, everyone agrees that they are delicious, so such objections seem not to have much traction, at least amongst those tasting them.
2ch for its part is almost universally horrified by the practice, a stark contrast to its usual defence of eating whales and dolphins as “they are no different from cows or fish, you eat those don’t you?”…
Via Itai News.